Nairobi, July 21 (IANS) Kenya has named a squad of 30 players to begin preparations for the Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations regional qualifiers for the CECAFA zone.
The tournament, which brings together 10 countries, will run from August 11th to 26th in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, reports Xinhua news agency.
Kenya has been pooled in Group B alongside Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Djibouti, while Group A features hosts Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and Sudan.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa is hopeful that Kenya will secure qualification to the continental championships, which will also be held in Tanzania in November.
“The Kenya team will report to camp on Saturday in Nairobi, before shifting base to Mombasa from August 1. They will have the best preparations and it will be on them to show the region what they have,” said Mwendwa.
The team will depart for Tanzania on August 6th. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has introduced the new qualification format in order to have as many teams competing as possible.
A total of 49 teams will be divided into seven regional groups, with the winner of each group qualifying for the finals.
In the east Africa region, the CECAFA tournament will determine which team takes part in the 2019 Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations in May alongside Tanzania, who gain automatic qualification by virtue of being hosts.
In the case of CECAFA, the winner of the tournament will clinch the region’s ticket, while the runners-up could still make it to the tournament if Tanzania emerge victorious.
Kenya’s team comprises players who took part in the CECAFA U-17 Championships in Burundi in April, finishing fourth behind Tanzania, Somalia, and Uganda. Also included in the team are Kevinton Mwachika and Victor Benson.