CECAFA u18: The Junior Stars capable of storming into Harambee Stars

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FOOTBALL CECAFA u18: The Junior Stars capable of storming into Harambee Stars

Mark Kinyanjui 06:00 - 11.12.2023

The five Junior Stars players that could become handy prospects for Harambee Stars in future despite final set-back against Uganda.

On Friday afternoon, the Kenya u18 side Junior Stars had to endure heartbreak as they squandered a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 to Uganda u18s at Kisumu’s Mamboleo Stadium, leaving the large Kenyan crowd that had attended the match shell-shocked.

There was a lot of sadness, anger and disappointment about losing the final, but at the same time, there was plenty to be optimistic about the performance of the team.

Stars blew away most teams that stood their way, playing very attractive football , with some players also staking their claims to be ones to watch in the future.

Although all the players that featured did very well, here are Pulse Sports’ five standout players from the tournament that could become handy prospects for more senior setups, such as the u20, u23 and even the senior Kenya national football team sides:

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Stanley Wilson Omondi - Deep lying playmaker

Argurably Kenya’s best player of the tournament, the Kariobangi Sharks midfielder proved why Engin Firat called him up for the senior side in September for the international friendly matches against Qatar and South Sudan.

Omondi has been showing maturity that is beyond his years deep in the middle. He is very good at dropping deep to receive the ball straight from the center backs and goalkeeper before nonchalantly evading the press and then launching attacks.

He is also good at carrying the ball forwards, can give line-breaking passes and is also a good set-piece taker. Despite his small frame, he is also physically competent and could continue developing into a very useful player in the future.

Amos Wanjala -Center back

Amos Wanjala captained the side to the final of the up and stood tall all the way, leading by example and showing maturity with his displays at the back.

He looked unbeatable in the air most games, but was most impressive with his ball-playing capabilities and ability to stay calm when under pressure. His ability to bring the ball out from the back was impressive, as well as his passing.

There are aspects he needs to work on, such as learning how to release the ball quicker,but he is one to watch.

Tyrone Kariuki -Left winger

Tyrone Kariuki has already been dubbed the “Kenyan Messi” for his displays throughout the tournament.

He has been very good at taking men on one on one, stretching teams and also operating pockets of space when playing as an inside forward, but he can also play as an attacking midfielder or a right winger who whips crosses in.

He needs to bulk up better physically given there were instances where he was getting beaten in the ground duels, but should he improve on that aspect, he could become key for Harambee Stars, especially considering the side has struggled to have players of natural flair within the set up.

Aldrine Kibet - Attacking midfielder

Aldrine Kibet has been earning rave reviews from fans and journalists alike ever since breaking through during the national school games that were held back in August in Kakamega.

Kibet showed why he earned a football scholarship to Spain and is reportedly being scouted by Real Madrid with his performances in the number 10 role.

He can carry the ball well, knows how to protect it and can score goals with both feet, underpinning his ability to strike the ball cleanly.

However, he needs to work on learning when to release the ball quicker as he can tend to dwell on it too much, making him look selfish when other teammates are in better positions.

Ibrahim Wanzala -Goalkeeper

The Kakamega Homeboyz shot-stopper is another one to watch. Although still a rough diamond that needs cutting, his most outstanding aspect is his ability to distribute the ball very accurately.

He has all sorts of passing ranges, both short and long and is naturally composed on the ball. He is also good at making saves, and knows how to organise his defence given his communication skills.

However, his command of area needs to be improved. Maybe he might get taller which could help him, but that is the one area of his game that you might say needs work.

More honorable mentions include Duncan Ochieng, who is Benson Omala’s little brother, Elly Owande, Humphrey Aroko, Louise Ingavi and left back Collins Ochieng.