Six young players, who were drafted in the national hockey team, to face Uganda in friendlies have been challenged to seize the opportunity and impress.
Kenya host Uganda starting Thursday at Sikh Union, Nairobi. Kenya will play their neighbours in three matches between Thursday and Sunday and assistant coach Mike Malungu is keen to give the untested players to an opportunity to boost their confidence and growth.
“We expect the young players to blend with the seniors. This is their time to shine and probably enter the fray for future considerations. It is about continuity and I encourage them to express themselves freely on the field,” said Malungu.
The six include the trio of Western Jaguars goalkeeper Paul Navangi and defenders Edison Ndombi and Emmanuel Wiswa.
Others are 20-year-old USIU-A Mashujaa shot stopper Samwel Silong, utility player Richard Njuki who turns out for Wazalendo as well as Strathmore Gladiators dynamic midfielder Brian Ogenche.
The 18-man squad boasts of experienced players like captain Constant Wakhura, Victor Osiche, Dauglas Nyerere, Kennedy Munialo and John Rioba among others.
Malungu said it was impossible to have all the 40 players who train with the national team for this assignment, adding even those who will miss out are still part of the team.
“Some players were omitted because of other engagements. Festus Onyango, who was Kenya’s top scorer in the Olympic qualifiers will not be with us because of exams. Moses Ademba is also out. But that doesn’t mean their national team duties have come to an end.”
Both countries booked slots for the next year’s Africa Cup of Nations to be staged in Accra, Ghana.
The two were the only countries that had confirmed participation in North East Africa qualifiers earlier set for March 1-7 in Nairobi, prompting the Africa Hockey Federation to cancel the event. The two nations were subsequently granted green light to compete in the Cup of Nations.
“We settled for Uganda because they are our immediate neighbours and the travel and accommodation logistics are fairer. Again, it is not easy to have teams from across the world because of the pandemic,” said Malungu.
The two teams last met in 2007 in Nairobi in the African Cup of Nations, where Kenya defeated Uganda 3-1.
Source link : https://www.the-star.co.ke/sports/2021-03-17-youngsters-tipped-to-impress-against-neighbours-uganda/
Publish date : 2021-03-17 15:05:34