The Kenya national U-23 head coach Francis Kimanzi is banking on international experience by some of the players in his squad to silence Sudan in Wednesday’s African Cup of Nations/ Olympics qualifier in Khartoum.
Traditionally, most national age-group football teams have relied on local based players in continental campaigns, but Kimanzi believes a blend of the local and foreign based stars will work out for him.
In the Emerging Stars squad already in Sudan, Kimanzi has Ovella Ochieng of Vasalund FC (Sweden), Joseph Okumu who plays for Real Monarchs in the United States and Alwyn Tera who turns up for FC Saburtalo, Georgia.
“The experience of the trio will be very key to our performance here (Sudan), you always need something extra in terms of exposure when it comes to international assignments,” Kimanzi offered.
The Mathare United coach is happy with the team’s mood in Sudan, underscoring his confidence to edge past the Dravko Logarusic coached Sudan side.
“My boys are in good spirit and we are confident of getting a good result away, so that we have an easier task in Nairobi during the return match,” added the tactician, who also sits in the Harambee Stars technical bench.
Meanwhile, The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has appointed Egyptian Ibrahim Nour Eldin as the Centre Referee for the clash.
The Egyptian will be assisted by his compatriots Samir Gamal Saad (First Assistant Referee), Hany Abelfattah Mahmoud (Second Assistant Referee), and Ahmed Elghandour (Fourth Official) while Youssouf Guedi Guireh (Djibouti) and Kria Samir Bouzareah (Algeria) will be the Match Commissioner and Referee Assessor respectively.
The second leg is slated for Tuesday, March 26 in Nairobi, with the aggregate winner facing off with either of Nigeria or Libya in the third round.
This will be the first Olympics ticket for Kenya in the discipline should Emerging Stars qualify.
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