Kenya have named a strong Under-20 side to face Rwanda in the return leg of the African Cup of Nations qualifier.
The match is set to be played on Saturday, April 21, 2018, at the Stade de Kigali, starting 3.30 pm.
Rwanda held Kenya to a 1-1 draw in the first leg played on Sunday, April 1, 2018, at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.
Richard Odada had given the Rising Stars an early lead that was canceled out by APR Fc striker Lague Byiringiro with less than a minute left on the clock.
The Kenyan side managed by former Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi drafted entertaining forward and Kariobangi Sharks forward Ovella Ochieng to steer the Harambee Stars U-20 team to the second round following their arrival in Rwanda on Thursday afternoon.
The team which has been accommodated at Kigali View Hotel in Nyamirambo is expected to hold their training session at Stade de Kigali on Friday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s clash.
Ovella was part of the Harambee Stars squad that edged Rwanda 2-0 in the opening match of the 2017 CECAFA Challenge Cup in Kakamega and played a key role in guiding them to title.
Another notable change made by Coach Okumbi is the inclusion of Mathare United’s John Mwangi to add more punch up front.
He told Kenyan media before departure on Thursday, “We have strengthened the striking force which was a bit blunt in the first leg and for me I think we have a very genuine chance to progress. We have trained very well and worked on the weak areas and I am optimistic we will progress,” Okumbi said.
He expects a tough tie from Rwanda but is optimistic his side will have enough to carry the day and book a second round slot.
“We know what to do to win despite the fact that we expect a very tough game from Rwanda. We saw what they are capable of doing in the first leg and we know how to counter that,” the coach noted.
Should Kenya master a win on aggregate against Rwanda, they will be in line to face Zambia in the second round, set to be played between May 11 and May 20, 2018.
Kenya U-20 Squad
Goalkeepers: Humphrey Katasi (Nzoia Sugar), Bryan Bwire (Kariobangi Sharks)
Defenders: Yusuf Mainge (AFC Leopards), Moses Mudavadi (St Anthony Kitale), Ezekiel Nyati (KCB), Boniface Onyango (Kakamega High), Brian Wepo (AcaKoro), Thomas Teka (Nzoia Sugar).
Midfielders: Ndemi Keegan (Bandari FC), Erick Kipkirui (Kariobangi Sharks), Richard Odada (Unattached), Alpha Onyango (Gor Mahia), Fidel Origa (Kariobangi Sharks), Vincent Wasambo (Kariobangi Sharks), Patrick Otieno (Nzoia Sugar).
Forwards: Sydney Lokale (Kariobangi Sharks), John Mwangi (Mathare United FC), Abraham Dawo (Police FC), Ovella Ochieng (Kariobangi Sharks), Austin Ochieng (Kayole Youth).