Congratulations continue to pour in for Junior Stars despite CECAFA Championship defeat

FOOTBALL Congratulations continue to pour in for Junior Stars despite CECAFA Championship defeat

Festus Chuma 18:52 - 09.12.2023

Kenya's Junior Stars receive congratulations for their impressive performance in the CECAFA Championship, sparking hope for a bright football future.

The nation is still buzzing with some excitement and pride as congratulatory messages continue to flood in for Kenya's Under-18 boys team, affectionately known as the Junior Stars, following their stellar performance in the recently concluded CECAFA Championship.

While they narrowly missed lifting the trophy, their remarkable journey has not gone unnoticed, leaving fans and officials alike with renewed hope for the future of Kenyan football.

The Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu was transformed into a sea of enthusiastic supporters as over 10,000 fans gathered to witness the Junior Stars' mesmerizing display of tiki-taka-style football.

They were relentless on the pitch, sweeping aside formidable opponents such as Sudan, Somalia, and Rwanda, netting an impressive ten goals during the tournament.

The journey to the final was not without challenges, as only Tanzania managed to offer stiff resistance, resulting in a goalless draw in the semi-finals.

However, the Junior Stars exhibited their resilience by clinching victory in a penalty shoot-out, earning them a well-deserved spot in the final.

There, they faced a more experienced and physically imposing Ugandan side and, despite a valiant effort, fell short with a final score of 2-1.

While they may not have lifted the championship trophy, the performance of the Junior Stars left no room for doubt regarding the exceptional work done by coaches Salim Babu and Anthony Akhulia in preparing the team for this prestigious tournament.

The outpouring of congratulatory messages on social media has been overwhelming, with sports enthusiasts and officials alike joining in to celebrate the Junior Stars' achievements.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba expressed his pride and support for the team, saying, "Big up my boys. I am incredibly proud of you. This is only the beginning as we build for the future, with deliberate, intentional, and structured focus."

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua recognized the broader impact of Kenya's performance, stating, "Kenya's remarkable performance in the CECAFA Under 18's Finals not only showcased the nation's sportsmanship but also contributed significantly to the unity within the region."

Harambee Stars captain  Michael Olunga echoed similar sentiments, expressing his pride in the collective effort of the Junior Stars, saying, "Proud of the collective team effort this team has put out there. The future is very bright. Hard luck. Nchi mbele."

Individual accolades also shone a spotlight on the team's standout performers.

Junior Stars' Aldrine Kibet secured the Golden Boot, demonstrating his scoring prowess with three goals in the tournament.

Goalkeeper Ibrahim Wanzala was awarded the Golden Glove for his outstanding performance, boasting three clean sheets in five matches. 

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