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Kenya champions Tusker eye CAF Champions League group stage

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenyan league champions Tusker FC have set aim at qualifying for the group stages of the 2017 CAF Champions League on their return to the top-tier continental club showpiece since 2013.

 

The team has boosted their squad by recruiting nine new players as they prepare to chase honours on five fronts this season including the Champions League, the regional Cecafa Club Championships and three domestic competitions.

Speaking at a ceremony where the cub paraded their new signings and unveiled their 2017 squad on Wednesday, head coach Ugandan George 'Best' Nsimbe showed his delight at the latest additions and their pre-season training thus far.

The 10-time Kenyan champions will kick off their campaign against Madagascan giants AS Port Louis 2000 in the preliminary round of the Champions League.

Tusker are making a comeback to continental competition after reclaiming the local league crown from three-peat winners Gor Mahia they added to the domestic GOtv Shield as they ran out double winners.

"I'm happy with what I have seen so far, during our preparations for the new season. The new players are fitting in well," their new Ugandan head coach George 'Best' Nsibe said during the unveiling of the 2017 squad in Nairobi on Wednesday.

"It will be a tough season, but I believe this side has what it takes to make it to the group stages of the Champions League and defend the two titles they won last year locally," he added.

The Kenya Breweries-sponsored team return to the flagship continental competition hoping for a better outing than 2013 when they crashed out in the first round.

They began in resounding fashion when they walloped the hapless St Michel United of Seychelles 7-1 on aggregate in the preliminary phase before being thumped by Egyptian titans and record winners Al Ahly 4-1 after two legs in the next stage.

Goalkeeper Byrne Omondi who was out on loan at Agro Chemicals, defenders Marlon Tangauzi (Uganda Saints FC) Vincent Omumbo (Thika United)and Samuel Olwande (Chemelil Sugar) are among the new blood injected into the Brewer's veins.

Midfielders Sydney Ochieng (Palos FC), Moses Ndawula (Lweza FC - Uganda), Abdul Hillary (African Lyon - TZ), Evans Ochieng (Umeme FC) and Victor Ndinya (Bandari) have also joined the club.

Tusker also announced the return of midfielder Brian Osumba to the playing roster after being sidelined by injury for the whole of last season.

Nsibe, 50, joined the Kenyan league champions from Vipers SC of Uganda, bringing on board vast experience in continental football having led both Azam FC (Tanzania) and Kampala City County Authority (KCCA) to the Champions League's group stage.

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