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Kenya rolls out final U-23 squad for Africa qualifier

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan international forward Pistone Mutamba is among 18 local players who made the final squad of national U-23 side Emerging Stars unveiled on Sunday.

According to Football Kenya Federation, four foreign-based players will link up with the team when it reports to camp on Friday in Nairobi.

The team is preparing for the first round of the upcoming Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifiers where Kenya will host Mauritius in the first leg on Nov. 14 before travelling for the return fixture four days later.

Speaking on Sunday, the team’s head coach and former senior side boss, Francis Kimanzi conceded trimming the squad from 57 presented the technical bench with a headache.

“It was quite challenging because we had quality players in each and every position, but alongside my technical bench as well as the senior national team coach (Sebastien Migne) and his assistant (Nicolas Borriquet-Cor) we have come up with 18 players who will hit camp next week,” he noted.

The final squad is set to take part in a two-day open session on Tuesday and Wednesday before reporting to camp on Friday ahead of the first leg of their clash with Mauritius.

The winner of the tie on aggregate will proceed to the second round, with a third round also in line. The Africa U-23 finals will be played in November 2019, in Egypt, will act as a qualifier to the 2020 Olympics.



Kenya to play Cameroon in women’s football friendly

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya will play Cameroon in Nairobi in their third international buildup match ahead of the 2018 African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) in Ghana from Nov. 17 to Dec. 1.

National head coach David Ouma said Wednesday that plans have been finalized to play the first two matches against Uganda and Ghana in Nairobi in next 10 days while the venue and dates for the third match with Cameroon has not been finalized.

“We are in talks with Cameroon officials to allow their team to visit Nairobi for another friendly before the kick off of the AWCON,” Ouma said in Nairobi.

“We need to give the team the best preparations because the task ahead is very difficult.”

Kenya will play Uganda’s Crested Cranes on Nov. 4 in Nairobi and follow up that clash with another encounter against Ghana on Nov. 7 also at home.

The team will then have one full week to focus on the Africa Women’s Cup of Nations and Ouma says it is prudent to slot in Cameroon to jolt the team into a reality check prior to flying out to Accra.

Kenya beat Uganda 1-0 in their qualification campaign for the AWCON while Ghana was too strong for the East Africans when they dismissed them 3-1 in the 2016 finals in Cameroon.

This will be the second time that Kenya will be competing at the AWCON. This comes after Equatorial Guinea, who edged out Kenya 3-2 in the qualifiers, were banned for fielding ineligible players.

At the AWCON, Kenya is in Pool B alongside defending champion Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia. Pool A has hosts Ghana, Cameroon, Mali and Algeria.

The best three teams from the tournament will secure automatic qualifications to the 2019 FIFA women’s World Cup finals in France.

Kenya has called 32 players in camp, but Marjolene Nekesa (USA) and Esse Mbeyu Akida (Israel) have not reported for training.

Ouma will trim down the team to 18, who will travel to Ghana for the finals.



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