Kenya Defence Forces side Ulinzi Stars face Al Hilal Benghazi of Libya at the Military Stadium in Cairo on Friday, February 10 in their Confederation Cup preliminary round, first leg fixture.
The match kicks off at 5pm (Kenyan time) and will be played behind closed doors.
The match is being played in Cairo and not Libya which is considered unsafe because of armed conflict.
Ulinzi coach Benjamin Nyangweso admitted to making certain tactical challenges heading onto this game, and remained confident that they would pull a surprise against the fancied North Africans.
“In terms of physical fitness we are okay, but there is still more to be done in terms of tactical awareness. We are, however, lucky to have escaped the harsh North African crowds since we will play behind closed doors, that puts us on a somewhat equal footing on Friday.
“I don’t have any injuries to talk of at this point. In fact, I am very encouraged by players like Baron Oketch because they look very confident and determined for this tough task. I know we have never gone beyond the first round, but we relish the challenge. We are soldiers,” he said.
Nyangweso, a former Ulinzi player himself, quietly prepared for this match at their secluded base in Nakuru. The only chance to judge how ready they are were was to study their friendly matches this month – a 1-1 with Bandari away and a 2-0 victory over Muhoroni Youth at their Afraha Stadium ground.
For this, Nyangweso reckons that the team has made commendable strides and it gives him the confidence to compete against the Libyan side. The will, however, be without their top scorer John Mark Makwatta who failed to make the trip because of issues with his travel papers though officials said they were trying to fly him to Cairo in time for the encounter.
The Libyan clubs was founded 64 years and is based in Benghazi. They have won the Libyan Cup twice.
Ulinzi, formed in 1995, are not new to Africa, having played in the 2011 CAF Champions League where they were bundled out 5-0 on aggregate by Egyptian powerhouse Zamalek in the preliminary round.
The KDF side withdrew from the 2004 Champions League at the last minute and were consequently fined and banned by CAF for three years.
This, though, is their first Confed Cup outing.
Ulinzi Stars touring squad:
Goalkeepers – James Saruni, Jacktone Odhiambo, Finius Odhiambo; Defenders – Hassan Mohammed, Omar Mbongi, Hamisi Abdalla, Benson Sande, Geoffrey Kokoyo, Rodgers Omomdi, Oliver Rutto, Cylus Shitote, Brian Birgen; Midfielders – Churchill Muloma, Stephen Ocholla, John Kago, Boniface Onyango, Samuel Onyango, Justine Onwong’a, Daniel Waweru, Michael Otieno; Strikers – Baron Oketch, Enosh Ochieng, Stephen Waruru, Johnmark Makwata, Evans Amwoka, Oscar Wamalwa