Kenya play away to Nigeria today in the return match leg of their Under-17 World Cup qualifier in Ogun State.

The match has not been without controversy and uncertainty following a protest by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) over the fielding of over-age players and the security situation in Africa’s most populated country. Kenyan team left for Lagos yesterday morning after being assured of their safety arrangements by their hosts.

FKF on Tuesday wrote to CAF expressing concern about the team’s security in the wake of wide spread violence in Northern Nigeria. Two days later, the federation received the assurances about security and made the decision to travel.

Kenya had also protested to CAF over alleged fielding of over-age players and the case is yet to be determined even as they go into today’s match trailing 2-0.

Kenyan coach Fred Serenge is however, not worried by the first leg result and is confident he can pull a surprise away.

“We have used the two weeks to rectify our mistakes in the first leg. It is possible to turn around the result,” he said.

Serenge pointed out that Nigerian players are weak on the ball and he has instructed his girls to go all out in a bid to win the match. Kenyan team is a vastly inexperienced side with all the players featuring in their first international assignment. It showed in the first leg tie against Nigeria and is one of the reasons for their loss.

Despite the inexperience, some Kenyan players stood out in the first leg and are likely to give their opponents a run for their money. Janet Bundi playing on the left flank was very fast on the ball always leaving his markers beaten. She is coach Serenge’s real hope for goals. Then there is also Winnie Mugechi with her impressive runs in the defence.

The Kenyans will have to watch out for Patience Okieme, who scored both goals in the first leg. The winner of today’s match goes into the second round of the Under-17 World Cup qualifiers.

By GILBERT WANDERA, The Standard

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