Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | Kenya’s new coach Paul Put has warned his players to expect Rwanda and Libya to be at full strength when they meet in the group phase of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup.
In his first game since taking over from Stanley Okumbi last month, the Belgian-born Put’s experimental team face Rwanda in the tournament opener at the Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega on Sunday.
“Rwanda have shown their quality having qualified for the 2018 African Nations Championships (CHAN) by beating Ethiopia in the play-offs.
“They are expected to bring their top players, and Libya too will field their best team as they seek to use the tournament as a build-up for the CHAN finals in Morocco in January, which have also qualified to take part,” said Put.
“The tournament will give me the opportunity to look at the local players. Our goal is the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, but it is important to have a good result.
“We will have to learn by our own mistakes, and see how the team will perform. But the players want to prove themselves, and playing at home will be an extra motivation for them.”
Kenya last won the Cecafa Cup in 2013 when Allan Wanga scored both goals in the 2-0 victory over Sudan in the final in Nairobi.
Following Zimbabwe’s withdrawal on Wednesday, nine national teams, including cup holders Uganda will take part in the December 3-17 championships. The matches will be played in Kakamega in Western Kenya and the eastern town of Machakos.
Zimbabwe, the reigning Southern Africa Cosafa champions, were expected to take part as a guest side, along with Libya.