NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 4 – After their 1-1 draw with Muhoroni Youth in a Premier League match on Wednesday evening in Kisumu, Ulinzi Stars will shift focus to continental duty, when they depart Nairobi on Friday morning for Kigali, Rwanda to represent Kenya at the East Africa military games.
The soldiers will be aiming to recoup their football title after losing to Rwanda’s Armée Patriotique Rwandaise (APR) last year in Kampala, Uganda.
Ulinzi missed the title after drawing their final game with Uganda’s Simba, finishing the tourney on seven five points against Rwanda’s seven.
“We know it is going to be very tough because no team is an easy opponent. But we are charged up for the fight because we have an equally strong team. We want to give our best,” club vice chairman major Joel Birgen told Capital Sport.
The organisers have restricted participating teams to lean squads with Ulinzi taking a team of only 16 players, something that will prove a challenge to the side especially with a tough run of games awaiting them when they return to the country.
However, skipper James Saruni remains confident the team will give their best and despite the limited choice of personnel, they will deliver.
“It was very painful for us last year losing the title but this time round we are prepared to go out and reclaim it. We have some very good motivation especially now that we have picked up form in the league so hopefully, we come back with the trophy,” the goalkeeper said.
The Kenyan soldiers begin their campaign with a tough tie against the hosts Rwanda on Sunday and a win on the opening day will give them a good foothold heading into the other matches involving Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania.
“The boys have played really well over the last three matches and we hope they can do the same when we go there. Winning against Rwanda will be a huge plus for us because we want to have a positive and morale boosting start,” club chairman Lt. Col. Erick Oloo offered.
Kenya will be defending their cross country title while other teams which will participate include handball and basketball.