Kenya’s Junior Stars will be playing for formality and entertaining Kakamega football fans today as the 2023 Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa) Under-18 championships preliminary Group A matches end on Friday at Bukhungu Stadium.
Kenya booked their ticket to the semifinals of the regional showpiece on Tuesday after narrowly seeing off Rwanda 1-0 at Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Kisumu.
Spanish-based Aldrine Kibet scored the winning goal that moved Kenya top of Group A with six points ahead of Somalia, Rwanda and Sudan.
Today, Kibet will back on a familiar hunting ground in front of thousands of fans at Bukhungu Stadium, the field where he made his name.
Kibet scored two goals in August as St Anthony’s Boys Kitale defeated Dagoretti High School 2-0 to win this year’s Kenya Secondary School Sports Association (KSSSA) national football title, a record sixth for the school.
In fact, Kibet was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) before proceeding to Nastic Sports Academy in Barcelona.
With already having booked their spot, Kenya are set to play for formality when they face Somalia ahead of the knockout stages set for next week in Kisumu.
Rwanda on the other hand have to defeat Sudan to stand a chance of qualifying for the next round.
The Amavubi Junior Stars are currently third on the standings with three points and zero goal difference and Sudan bottom with zero points. For them to qualify, they have to bank on Kenya beating Somalia.
“We are going to play our football because we have to maintain consistency ahead of Tuesday’s semis. We don’t want to let down our tempo and I believe we have the quality to do that consistently,” said Salim Babu, Junior Stars coach.
In Group B, it will be do or die as Uganda Junior Cranes, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zanzibar who are all tied on three points.
Uganda lost 1-0 to Tanzania before winning 2-1 against Zanzibar while South Sudan who lost 1-0 to Zanzibar shocked Tanzania 2-1.
The winner of the final matches on Saturday will qualify for the semifinals.
Uganda will play Zanzibar while South Sudan face Tanzania.