NAIROBI, August 11- Kenya will seek to defend the East Africa Military Games football title for the third straight year when competition starts on Monday at the iconic Nelson Mandela (Namboole) Stadium in Kampala, Uganda.
The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) has always been represented by SportPesa Premier League side Ulinzi Stars who have already unveiled their travelling 21-man squad that travels to Kampala by bus on Friday morning.
The overall team (Team Kenya) was handed the flag at the Department of Defense Headquarters with the sole command to ensure all titles come back home.
Last year in Zanzibar, Kenya won the overall title after taking the honours in football, handball and athletics.
Ulinzi won the football title without losing a single match, winning three and drawing one.
This year, they expect stiffer competition with Uganda, the team which held them to a one-all draw last year at the Amman Stadium in Zanzibar playing at home.
“Uganda will definitely be our toughest opponents because they always have a good team and this time that they are playing at home, they will want to win the title.
“It is going to be a tough tournament for us, no doubt about it, but we feel we are in good shape and we can do it.” James Saruni, the team captain told Capital Sport.
Saruni has taken over the captain’s armband from Stephen Ochollah who will be out of the team for the next four months alongside defender Oliver Rutto. The two are embarking on a career progression course.
Only two will be missing from the squad that won the title in Zanzibar where Churchill Muloma and Rodgers ‘Bastos’ Omondi being named for their debut Military Games .
Erick Apul who was left out last year has found a place this time round with Ochollah missing alongside veteran right-back Mulinge Ndetto.
“I think we have a very good team and we will do well in Uganda. Definitely all teams will be looking at us because we are the defending champions. But we will prove our worth and come back home with the title,” Ulinzi Stars Chairman Col JS Mwinyikai said.
Team’s vice-chair, Eric Oloo, who will lead the team to Kampala has been promoted from a Major to a Lieutenant General after the changes announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Ulinzi begin their title defense against Rwanda on Monday, a day after the official opening of the tournament.
Usually, the first match pits the hosts against the defending champions but Uganda have saved the best for last with the cracker between these two countries set for the last day of the tournament.
Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania are the other teams who will take part in the ten-day tournament.
Goalkeepers; James Saruni, Finius Odhiambo, Francis Ochieng
Defenders; Omar Mbongi, Geoffrey Kokoyo, Rodgers Omondi, Brian Birgen, Ben Sande, Mohammed Hassan, Antony Muriithi,
Midfielders; Erick Apul, Kevin Amwayi, Churchill Muloma, Salim Mohammed, Justine Onwong’a, Boniface Onyango, Collins Ochieng
Strikers; Job Muhati, John Mark Makwatta, Job Muhati, Evans Amwoka