Defending champions Kenya Monday clawed their way back to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Copa Coca-Cola Under-16 Africa Cup at M-Pesa Foundation Academy in Thika.
The team recorded mixed results, losing its opening match 3-1 to Zimbabwe before winning the second 3-0 against Mozambique in the preliminaries.
Kenya has reached the quarter-finals alongside Pool A team Zimbabwe who beat the hosts 3-1 and Mozambique 4-2 at the same venue.
In Tuesday’s quarter-final matches, Group A winners Zimbabwe will play Group C runners-up Namibia while Group B winners Zambia will play Group D runners-up Angola.
Group C winners Uganda face Group B runners up Tanzania.
Group D winners Botswana face Group A runners-up Kenya.
South Africa who were in Pool B have been eliminated while Ethiopia, who were scheduled to play in Pool C pulled out of the 10-team event. Burkina Faso who had been placed in Pool D pulled out of the age-group tournament.
In the opener, Zimbabwe’s Luke Musikiri helped himself to a hat-trick against Kenya in the 30th, 51st and 58th minutes respectively as Mwinyi Nasssoro scored the consolation for Kenya in the 35th minute. A majority of Kenyan players are drawn from Coast-based Serani High School.
In their second match against Mozambique, Kenya redeemed themselves with a 3-0 thrashing of the visitors to earn a spot in Tuesday's quarters. Fredrick Onyango scored for Kenya in the 2nd, 17th and 22nd minutes respectively.