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Kenya’s Junior Stars eye CECAFA U18 semis in Rwanda date

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Kenya's Junior Stars celebrating their victory over Sudan. PHOTO/FKF
Kenya's Junior Stars celebrating their victory over Sudan. PHOTO/FKF
  • The Rising Stars beat Sudan 5-0 in their opening match
  • A win against Rwanda sails them to the semi finals
  • Somalia plays Sudan in the other match

Kenya’s Junior Stars will look to book a slot in the semi-final of the CECAFA Under-18 Championship currently on in Kisumu, when they take on Rwanda in their second Group A match at the Jomo Kenyatta Stadium.

The Junior Stars will move to six points with victory against the Rwandese, having started their competition with a 5-0 thrashing of Sudan on Saturday.

Assistant coach Anthony Akhulia believes it will not be an easy match, having watched Rwanda in their opener, the latter beating Somalia 1-0.

“They are a very good side. They are organized and play good football and also have players with individual brilliance. It will not be an easy match but the focus for us is to get the three points and move to the next round,” Akhulia said.

Junior Stars Cannot be complacent 

He added; “We cannot be complacent because we won the first match 5-0. That is behind us and the focus now is on this match. The players know what we demand from them in every game.”

The team was a delight to watch in the first game as they hit the Sudanese for five, and have vowed to keep the same momentum heading into the duel against Rwanda.

Against Sudan, The Spain-based Louis Ingavi scored a brace for the Junior Stars with compatriot Aldrine Kibet adding another as Tyrone Kariuki and Elly Owade added one each for the side to earn a massive victory.

Playing at home, the Junior Stars were determined to make the home fans happy, and they were on the offensive from the word go. Ingavi broke the deadlock for the home side as early as the seventh minute with a powerful header off a cross from the left.

Kenya continued to dominate and they made it 2-0 after 29 minutes, Kariuki scoring a beautiful goal when he found his way inside the box before twisting away from his markers and shooting low into the net.

Kibet dazzles with brilliant goal 

Four minutes later, it was 3-0 with Kibet getting his goal with a left footed low shot inside the area. Manzur Okwaro had won the ball from what was a Sudan counter, before laying the ball for Kibet who did the rest with some deft footwork.

Kenya went to the break 4-0 up, Ingavi completing his brace with a good finish inside the box off a Kariuki pass, but it was Kibet who had initiated the move with a good run from midfield.

In the second half, Sudan attempted to give a fight but couldn’t get a goal back and Owade finished off the afternoon with the fifth goal two minutes to time, placing a left footed shot into the bottom right after the Sudanese defense struggled to clear in their own area.

Akhulia was pleased with the performance of the team, noting they executed their game plan well.

Boys did a good job 

“I want to congratulate the boys; they did a good job for us. We wanted to start off with a win. We haven’t accomplished anything yet because this is the first match. We still have a long way to go,” Akhulia said.

He added; “We are playing at home and that comes with a lot of pressure because everyone expects us to win this tournament. But for us, we are taking a match at a time and try to win every game then we can plan for the next.”

Akhulia says they will look to keep the same momentum against Rwanda and hints that they will not make lots of changes to the squad.

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