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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya youth eye region’s ticket to Africa Under-17 Nations Cup   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Junior Harambee Stars are hopeful of clinching the single ticket to play in next year’s African Under-17 Cup of Nations in Tanzania as the CECAFA region qualifiers kick off this weekend in Dar es Salaam.

Having finished fourth last year in Bujumbura, Burundi, coach Michael Amenga is optimistic of conquering the region as he has entered a stronger side capable to raffle the feathers and claim dominance in the region.

With Tanzania already assured of a slot as hosts, the remaining nine teams will square out for one slot to the continental championship.

Apart from Kenya and Tanzania, the tournament has teams from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea.

“We have prepared very well because we have had a longer camp period and the team has gelled together as a unit. Last year, we had just formed the Under-17 team and there were a lot of teething problems. But it’s different this time round and we also have a stronger team,” Amenga said on Saturday.

Kenya are in Pool B with South Sudan, Djibouti, Uganda and Ethiopia and will start their campaign next Tuesday against South Sudan. A top two finish will guarantee them a spot in the semi-finals.

“In Africa now, you can’t pick out a big team from a small team. Everyone is equal and everyone wants to win. It will be very tough but we have to work hard to get out of the group and most importantly top it. If we get to the final, I believe we will have that motivation to get the ticket to the Cup of Nations,” added Amenga.

Kenya captain Arnold Onyango said he is ready to lead from the front and remains certain they will secure their prize to make it at the Africa Nations Cup in May next year in Tanzania.

“We know that Kenya has never qualified for the Under-17 Cup of Nations and that is our motivation. We want to be the ones to make history and represent our country well. We expect a tough tournament but we have prepared adequately,” added the defender.

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UPDATE:

Kenya challenges CAF decision to bar three players from under 17 qualifiers

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya has challenged the decision to expel three of the country’s players from the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) AFCON Under 17 qualifiers in Tanzania after allegations emerged that the players are over the age limit.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Head of Communications and Public Relations, Barry Otieno said on Saturday evening that the local governing body has performed its due diligence in the selection of the team.

Maxwell Mulili, Lesley Otieno Owino and Abdulmalik Hussein Abdalla are the three players accused by CAF of being over-age and therefore, been barred from taking part at the qualifiers.

“In total, 30 players were subjected to the mandatory tests, with the same confirming that only two were not in the required age bracket,” Otieno said in a statement.

“The two were subsequently dropped from the squad prior to the team leaving for Tanzania, thus giving the federation no reason to doubt the eligibility of the remaining 28, of which 18 were selected to represent the country in the U-17 AFCON qualifiers,” Otieno added.

The FKF has subsequently written to CAF and the hospital that conducted the MRI in Nairobi to establish the cause of discrepancies in the test results.

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