2020 Olympics: Mutamba inspires Kenya U23 into the second round of AFCON qualifiers

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Sunday, November 18th 2018 at 18:27 GMT +3 | Football
Kenya's team before match kick-off against Mauritius during the U23 Olympic qualifier match at Kasarani Stadium on Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya complete a double over Mauritius

Emerging Stars to face either Sudan or Seychelles in the second round.

Kenya's Emerging Stars completed a double over Mauritius to qualify 8-1 on aggregate into the second round of the 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifiers after trouncing their hosts 3-1, in Sunday's reverse tie at Anjalay Stadium in Belle Vue Maurel.

The Francis Kimanzi's men went to Indian Ocean Island nation carrying a huge advantage after thrashing Mauritius 5-0 in the first leg at Kasarani Stadium, last Wednesday.

Kenya will now clash with either Sudan or Seychelles in the second round of African football qualifying competition for the 2020 Japan Olympic Games.

Should the Emerging Stars overcome their round two opponents in March next year, they are likely to face either defending champions Nigeria or Libya in the final round set for June.

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Seven winners in the qualifying round will join hosts Egypt in next year's (November 8-22) finals, whose top three teams will represent the continent at the the 2020 Summer Olympics men's football tournament in Tokyo.

Sofapaka forward Pistone Mutamba broke the deadlock on the stroke of halftime when he leapt high in the box to head home Yusuf Mainge's corner kick before speedy winger Ovella Ochieng doubled Kenya's lead with a brilliant free kick seven minutes into the second half.

James Mazembe then scored a wonder goal direct from corner before the hosts pulled a goal back through a free kick.

This the type of performance head coach Francis Kimanzi was demanding from his players despite making a couple of changes to the squad that mauled Mauritius in Nairobi.

"I think this was a wonderful performance from the boys because this is like a new initiative for the Olympics team. When you have a huge win in your first match, it is really encouraging and impressive for us," Kimanzi said after the first leg victory.

"The boys did their best and showed they are ready to do it. You know this is an experiment group because it is long time since it happened. This is a good platform for them to build their confidence in style, but the job is not yet done."

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