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The return of Logarusic: Sudan sink Seychelles to book Kenya date

By VINCENT OPIYO
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Kenya’s Under-23 side will face their Sudanese counterparts in the second round of the 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations-cum-Olympics qualifiers in March next year.

The Sudan Under-23, who beat Seychelles 2-1 on aggregate in the first round preliminaries, will host the first leg of the tie set to be held between march 18-26.

Sudan battled to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Seychelles in the first round return leg at Khartoum Stadium on Tuesday night.

Sudan went into the match on the back of a one-all draw posted in the first leg last Wednesday knowing a goalless draw will suffice.

After a goalless first half, the hosts went ahead through an own goal three minutes after restart when a Seychelles defender headed into his own net in an attempt to stop a goal bound shot before Zdravko Logarusic’s lads held onto to emerge winners.

Logarusic is not new in Kenyan football circles. The Croat handled Kenyan football giants in Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards in 2012 and 2015 respectively.

The aggregate winner will play either Nigeria or Libya in the third and final round scheduled for June 3-11 where seven nations will join hosts Egypt at the Cup of Nations finals in November next year.

“Each match in the qualifiers is critical, it doesn’t matter the quality of the opponent, we’ve to stick to our philosophy and improve on the weaknesses ahead of the second round,” said Kenya’s Emerging Stars coach Francis Kimanzi, whose side humiliated Mauritius 8-1 on aggregate in the first round.

“We’ve a lot of assignments to be done before the second round, definitely we will keep monitoring the youngsters’ progress,” he added.

Top three teams at the eight-team championship will represent the continent at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Kenya last played Sudan’s junior team during the 2017 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations qualifiers in March 2016, drawing 1-1 in Khartoum.

The northeast African country however filed a successful protest against Kenya for fielding ineligible players to go through to the second round where they advanced to the next stage after Malawi pulled out of the qualifiers.

They saw off Nigeria in the final round to qualify for the tournament held and won by Zambia last year.

In other results, lowly ranked South Sudan beat Uganda 2-0 to advance to the second round 2-1 on aggregate.

They face Tunisia in the second round while Angola play South Africa as Malawi meet Zambia. Mozambique tackle neighbours Zimbabwe, Cameroon battle Sierra Leone, Ethiopia host Mali among others.