Eight countries have arrived for the Africa Under-17 Chess Championships that starts in Nairobi today.
South Africa will field 45 players -the highest contingent. South Africa and Uganda, which has 29 players, landed yesterday.
Others were Malawi, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Nigeria. Namibia and Lesotho were also expected to arrive last evening.
Kenyan coach Ben Magana is upbeat of a good show in the eight-day tournament. The team has been in residential training at Pride Inn Hotel for seven days.
“We are grateful to the Ministry of Sports for sponsoring this team. It has enabled us have good preparations and we hope to bag many medals,” he said.
Among the medal hopefuls in the event is Elizabeth Cassidy, who is the current silver medalist at the Africa Youth Chess Championships held in Ghana in September.
She is confident of bagging gold medal. “I narrowly lost in the Ghana event but now that I am playing at home gives me an opportunity for me to do better,” she said.
Also in the category is Fantalis Ndutta, another medal hopeful.
Chess Kenya President Bernard Wanjala is excited about the team’s preparations. “We want to thank our main sponsors the Ministry of sports for their support. We are confident of doing well on home ground,” he said.
Africa Chess Confederation (ACC) President Lewis Ncube from Zambia arrived in Nairobi on Saturday night to grace the event.