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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Kenyan U-23 football team focus on Africa
Nations Cup and Olympics qualification

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya national Under-23 football team head coach Francis Kimanzi is certain the country will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Kenya launch their campaign with an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mauritius on November 14, which will also serve as the continent’s qualification competition for the Tokyo Olympics.

“It is about the players believing in their ability to perform on the big stage,” said Kimanzi on Wednesday.

“This team is untested and will be launching its voyage in untested waters. But I believe they have the talent and have shown commitment in training, and winning against Mauritius will add impetus to their hunger to make it on the global stage,” he continued.

Kimanzi has since named five foreign-based players in the team that will play against Mauritius in Nairobi on Wednesday.

The England-based duo of Jonah Ayunga and Henry Ochieng have been called up, as well as Georgia-based Alwyn Tera. Ovella Ochieng who plays in Sweden and U.S.-based Joseph Okumu have also been given the nod.

“I called 57 players and they will all battle for slots in the team. I had three or four players in each position and it gave me freedom to select what I want. This country has talent,” said Kimanzi.

Kenya will kick off their campaign at home on November 14, and head to Mauritius for the return leg four days later.

The winner of the tie will proceed to the second and third rounds, which are scheduled to take place in March and June 2019.

Eight teams will qualify for the quadrennial Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations competition to be hosted by Egypt in December 2019. The top three teams will qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games football tournament.

           

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