NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Kenya will play Sudan in the second round of the
Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in March 2019.
Sudan defeated the
Seychelles 2-1 on aggregate, after the two sides drew 1-1 in the
first leg. Kenya’s head coach Francis Kimanzi has since called
on his team to remain focused and believe in their strength
ahead of the clash in March.
Kimanzi said “focus
is critical” after they beat Mauritius 8-1 on aggregate to seal
their spot in the second round qualifier matches. The winner of
the qualifier in March will play either Nigeria or Libya in the
final round scheduled for June.
“This tournament is
challenging because we all focus on young players; those who are
yet to find their niche in top flight football. That is why I
see it as a long term plan for the country. We still have a long
way to go, each match in the qualifiers is critical, it doesn’t
matter the quality of the opponent, but going forward it will
get tighter and more challenging,” said Kimanzi.
Joseph Okumu says he is ready to lead from the front and ensure
the side qualifies for its first ever Under-23 Africa Cup of
“We want to be like
the senior Harambee Stars [Kenya’s national football team]. They
are on the cusp of qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations in
Cameroon having been out for 15 years. We want to emulate them,”
The seven winners of
the third round across Africa will join hosts Egypt at the
Under-23 Cup of Nations Cup finals in November 2019. Only the
top three teams in the eight-team championship will represent
the continent at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.