Kenya heading for four-nation football tournament in Malawi-Xinhua

Kenya heading for four-nation football tournament in Malawi

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-03-18 23:27:15

NAIROBI, March 18 (Xinhua) -- International football takes centre stage over the next fortnight for Kenya's national football team, who are scheduled to play in a four-nation friendly tournament that begins in Malawi this weekend.

The Harambee Stars will play the host nation on Saturday, with the winner taking on either Zambia or Zimbabwe in next week's final.

The losers will lock horns in the third/fourth place play-off.

Kenya head coach Engin Firat has promoted teenager Alphonce Omija to the senior side as one of five players to be handed maiden call-ups for the tournament.

Midfielder Omija shone at last year's regional under-17 tournament, where Kenya lost the final to neighbours Uganda in the lakeside city of Kisumu.

Shariff Musa, Bonphas Munyasa, Chris Erambo and Kaycie Odhiambo have also earned their first call-ups to the Kenya squad.

Forward John Avire, who plays in Egypt's second division with El Sekka El Hadid SC, makes his return to the side in place of the injured Masud Juma, who plies his trade in Saudi Arabia.

Captain Michael Olunga - the Qatar-based Al Duhail striker - Ayub Timbe, Joseph Okumu, Johnstone Omurwa, Eric Ouma, Amos Nondi, Richard Odada and Teddy Akumu are some of the overseas-based players expected to join the team's training camp in Nairobi starting Monday.

Firat opened his training camp over the weekend with some of the local players who expressed optimism that they would make the traveling contingent.

"Winning this tournament would be a big achievement, though it will not be easy," midfielder David Sakwa told reporters at the team's training camp in Nairobi.

The four-nation tournament will give the participating teams an opportunity to play more matches within the short international window, in preparation for the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2025 AFCON qualifying campaigns.