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Emerging Stars: Under 23 side hosts Mauritius at Kasarani today

FOOTBALL By Gilbert Wandera | November 14th 2018
Harambee Stars Ovella Ochieng drible ball against Ghana during African Cup of Nations Qualifier match at Moi Sports Centre Kasarani. Sept 8, 2018. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Emerging Stars chase Olympic slot

Coach Kimanzi looking for positive start in chase for Tokyo 2020 slot.

Kenya’s Emerging Stars start their quest for a place in the 2020 Olympic Games this evening when they take on Mauritius at Kasarani Stadium.

The team handled by Francis Kimanzi will be seeking to make history by playing in the Olympic Games for the first time.

To do this, they must first edge out Mauritius before meeting the winner of the match between Seychelles and Sudan in the second round. A third round to determine the teams who make it to Japan for the Olympic games will be played next year.

Coach Francis Kimanzi has called up a number of new players to his squad with two England-based forwards making the team.

The coach says he feels positive and excited about the fixture after having a full house in training on the first day.

“It is always a positive feeling when you have a full squad on the first day of training. It shows that the players are motivated and inspired,” he said.

Regarding the new players, Kimanzi said they have shown great potential, but was still accessing them.

“The players we called up from abroad are looking good so far. They have something close to what we are looking for. We will have more time to work with them after this fixture and build what we want,” he said.

Kimanzi, a former Harambee Stars coach, further pointed out that they will go all out to pick a positive result at home today in order to make the return match on Sunday a formality.

Sweden-based Ovella Ochieng who is among the players Kimanzi will be relying on for goals says he is too was looking forward to picking a positive result in the first leg tie.

“We are going for a good result and believe we can get it at home and the fact that we have one of the best coaches in Francis Kimanzi motivates us even more,” he said.

For England based John Oyunga, his aim is to fight for a place in the squad.

“I am here with my passport and ready to help the team when called upon,” he said.

Henry Ochieng another England based player admitted that it will not be easy getting into the team.

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