NAIROBI, Nov 13 (Xinhua) – Kenya's 23-coach Francis Kimanzi says his team is ready to challenge Mauritius in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Nairobi on Wednesday.
The match will be among the many that will be played across the continent to determine the three African teams at the OS in 2020 in Tokyo.
Speaking in Nairobi on Tuesday, Kimanzi said his side has everything to lose when they host the island. The winner of the meeting will play Sudan or Seychelles in the second round.
"I have very big hopes [that] The team will play well and win the match. This is the first leg and we have to win at home and focus on the return leg in Mauritius this Sunday, said Kimanzi.
There will also be a third round, which will determine the team that will qualify for the Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations in Egypt next year. The tournament in Egypt will serve as a qualification for OS 2020, with the best three teams receiving automatic qualification for Tokyo.
Kimanzi said he has chosen the top 18 players and they have intensified their training to maximize their hopes of qualifying for the final at the 23rd match in Egypt and then in the Olympic Games.
"The Olympics are a long shot but we must believe in ourselves. Each challenge has a starting point for finding a solution and we think Kenya will weather the storm to Mauritius and then move on to the next round. For now, match Mauritius is what matters to us, "he added.
In March, Kenya played under 23 teams two matches against Uzbekistan who lost 1-0 and won the second 2-0. Senegal, Algeria and champion Nigeria scored for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Eight teams will qualify for the quadrennial competition to host Egypt in December next year.
Other East African teams will see Uganda starting south Sudan, Burundi will hit Tanzania while Ethiopia will play Somalia.