Football Football

Ulinzi to request Afraha use for Confed Cup

Ulinzi Stars takes on AFC Leopards at the Afraha Stadium in a past match. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu
Ulinzi Stars takes on AFC Leopards at the Afraha Stadium in a past match. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 5 – Ulinzi Stars, Kenya’s representatives in next year’s CAF Confederations Cup will officially write to the Football Kenya Federation, requesting to use the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru as their home ground for continental assignments.

Ulinzi chairman Lt Col Erick Oloo said the Stadium has the ability to host international matches especially after it earned a facelift mid this year for the Madaraka Day Celebrations.

“It is important to have the home ground advantage and playing our games at Afraha, in our home town of Nakuru will give us that. We will write to FKF to ask them to request CAF Inspectors to come over and inspect the stadium so that we play our CAF games here,” Oloo said.

The last time Ulinzi played continental football in 2011, they used the Nyayo Stadium as their home ground as Afraha didn’t tick all the right boxes to host any international fixtures.

Prior to the June 1 National Holiday, the county and national government renovated the spectator stands as well as the changing rooms, but one grey area that remains is the quality of the playing surface.

The country government has however promised to refurbish the same.

The military side will be hoping to make a positive return to continental football with memories of their 5-0 loss at the hands of Egyptian giants Zamalek in 2011 still lingering in their minds.

They resume early training on Wednesday and have planned to play at least two international friendly matches before breaking for Christmas.

“We want to start preparing early because our target is to make a mark on the continent. We have talked to some clubs in Uganda and Tanzania to see the possibility of squeezing in at least two friendly matches which will help gauge our level of preparedness,” Oloo affirmed.

The soldiers also plan to bulk up for the new season with 25 players picked from the recently concluded Chief of Defence Forces Cup being called in for trials. The team has also been boosted with the return of skipper Stephen Ochollah who has been away for the last one year on military duty.

Striker Mark Bikokwa has left for military training and will not be expected back until the second leg of next season.

“The coaches will be given a free hand to select from the 25 they scouted at the CDF Cup. If we fail to get the quality we require, then we will look outside the military set up to bring in players who can help us do well next season,” the chairman noted.

The club will have a full in-tray when they return to training on Wednesday, including discussions on the contract situations of head coach Robert Matano and midfielder Joseph Kuria who were out of the team in the second leg due to sickness and injury respectively.