COSAFA Kenya’s Emerging Stars to open campaign against record-winners Zambia

Kenya’s Emerging Stars will kick off their campaign to lift the 23rd edition of the COSAFA Cup when they take on Zambia in their Group B opener at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Gqeberha on Thursday (today).

Kenya under assistant coach Ken Odhiambo got the chance to feature in the tournament as a guest team following the withdrawal of Malawi and will also face Zimbabwe and Comoros.

This will be the second time Kenya is participating in the tournament as a guest team; the first time was in 2013 when they failed to get past the group stage.

During the 14th edition of the tournament in Zambia, Kenya, who were invited alongside neighbours Tanzania but the latter withdrew citing conflicting schedules with African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers and the CECAFA Kagame Cup, were pooled in Group B alongside Lesotho, Botswana, and Swaziland.

Kenya started their campaign with a 2-2 draw against Lesotho, Paul Kiongera and Jockins Atudo the scorers, beat Swaziland 2-0 courtesy of a double from Edwin Lavasta but lost their final group game 2-1 against Botswana with Edwin Olerile notching the consolation.

The outcome saw Kenya finish third in the group with four points, with leaders Lesotho, who had six, and Botswana with five, qualifying for the quarter-finals.

Bandari goalkeeper Bryan Omondi will likely start between the sticks for the U23 side against the record seven-time winners Chipolopolo, while Alphonce Omija, Paul Ochuoga, Sylvester Owino, and Geoffrey Onyango could be handed the opportunity to provide cover.

In the midfield, coach Odhiambo has Stanley Wilson, Elly Owande, Chrispine Erambo, Aldrine Kibet, Austine Odhiambo, Patrick Otieno, John Ochieng, Kaycie Odhiambo, William Gitamu, and Rooney Onyang to pick his squad from.

Gor Mahia forward Benson Omalla, who won the FKF Premier League Golden Boot after scoring 19 goals, will have the chance to impress having on many occasions been overlooked for the senior team Harambee Stars, and could likely play alongside Jeremy Bissau, Alfred Tanui, Hassan Beja or Moses Shummah.

Kenya’s second game will be against Comoros on June 30th at 13:00 at Isaac Wolfson Stadium, a venue located in KwaZakele, Ibhayi just outside Port Elizabeth. Harambee Stars will then wind up their preliminary matches with a fixture against the Warriors of Zimbabwe on July 2nd, 13:00, at the same Isaac Wolfson Stadium.

Dennis Mabuka

Dennis Mabuka is a seasoned Kenyan journalist with 18 years of experience covering sports events. He is currently a sport content creator with

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