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Stars revved up for CECAFA test

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 20- Harambee Stars will depart on Thursday for the regional CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup that kicks off in Kampala on Saturday aspiring not to repeat last year’s embarrassing group stage exit.

Assistant coach James Nandwa confirmed the development as the team resumed training on Monday in Nairobi with another separate squad preparing for the Africa Home Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifier against Burundi.

“Both squads are training separately since one is taking part in a tournament and the other preparing to feature in a knock-out tie. We are confident they will both come up with good performances,” Nandwa, who was appointed to be the local assistant to Frenchman Henri Michel, added.

Kenya face hosts and archrivals Uganda in the opening CECAFA tie in Kampala on Saturday after having been drawn in a tough Group A that features 2013 Nations Cup bound Ethiopia and Southern Sudan.

“We got out in the preliminary stages last year and our aim is to improve on that. Our first match will be difficult but if we can avoid defeat, then we can hope to go far,” Nandwa observed.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) named two squads last Friday with the CECAFA side featuring 25 players who did not feature during last week’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Tanzania in Mwanza.

The CHAN line-up will feature those who made the Tanzania trip minus the country’s foreign based players since the second tier continental competition is open to domestic players only.

Kenya has won the CECAFA championship on five occasions, the last in 2002 with second division players, Lawrence Olum and Patil Omotto the only surprise inclusions in the team.

Michel has adopted a lenient attitude towards the regional tourney since it does not count towards FIFA rankings as he battles to lift Kenya from the lowly position 130 the country occupies in the latest scores.

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Stars will play Burundi in the first week of December in their CHAN qualifiers first-leg.

CECAFA squad:

Goalkeepers: Martin Musalia (Mathare United), Boniface Oluoch (Tusker FC), Duncan Ochieng (Sofapaka FC)

Defenders: Ibrahim Shikanda (Azam), Thomas Wanyama (Sofapaka FC), Abdallah Juma (Sofapaka FC), Milton Milimo (KCB FC), Joseph Shikokoti (Tusker FC), David Owino (Gor Mahia FC), Jockins Atudo (Tusker FC), Martin Imbalambala (AFC Leopards), Lawrence Olum (Kansas City), Patil Omotto (Kariobangi Sharks).

Midfielders: Bernard Mangoli (AFC Leopards), Humphrey Mieno (Sofapaka FC), Antony Kimani (Sofapaka FC), Francis Kahata (Thika United), Paul Were (AFC Leopards), Clifton Miheso (Thika United). Enditem

Strikers: Michael Baraza (AFC Leopards), Ramah Salim (Gor Mahia), Allan Wanga (AFC Leopards), Edwin Lavasta (Gor Mahia), Enock Agwanda (Sony Sugar), Paul Kiongera Mungai (KCB). Enditem

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