The draw for the COPA Coca-Cola international camp tournament was released today with the Kenyan team set to meet two teams they faced last year.
Kenya will clash against Uganda and Zimbabwe in Group B which also has new entrants from Central Asia, Kazakhstan, and North African side Algeria. Kenya lost to Zimbabwe by a solitary goal in last year’s Under-17 championships before beating Uganda 2-1.
Speaking after the draw, Kenyan U15 Coach Atanasi Wamalwa was upbeat about his team’s chances saying, “I think both pools are tough and it will be down to which team wants it more. My boys have learnt from the Forwardzone coaches here and we have had our private training session here. We are ready.”
Kenya, christened “Harambee Warriors” will clash against Zimbabwe’s Young Warriors in their first match scheduled to kick off at 10am on Friday before they tackle Uganda Cranes two hours later. The teams will play round robin matches with the top two advancing to the semi finals and then finals, both slated for Saturday.
“It’s been an unforgettable experience for us here already. Am glad I got this opportunity and we will give it our best shot to try bring the trophy to Kenya,” said Joseph Luchenga, Kenya’s lead striker and one of the most diminutive players at the camp.
Meanwhile two-time defending champions, Zambia, have been pooled in Group A where they will clash against last year’s runners-up Tanzania, North African giants Egypt and two other mixed teams. The first mixed team, nicknamed Dream Team is made up of players from Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Kazakhstan, while the second team, christened Africa United has players from South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Rwanda.
Speaking after the draw, Zambia Coach Bray Sichoonga, acknowledged the toughness of his group but maintained his team has all it takes to emerge tops. “This is without doubt the toughest group here but we are ready for the competition. We know that you have to beat the best to be the best,” said Sichoonga who has won the last two editions.
Zambia will be first of four teams to take to the field when the tournament kicks off on Friday morning. They will take on Tanzania at 9.00am, the same time Egypt’s Pharos will be squaring off against the Dream Team.
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