Kenyan midfielder McDonald Mariga said on Wednesday he was looking forward to a fierce contest with Uganda in this weekend's Africa Cup of Nations Group J qualifying match in Kampala.
The 24-year-old Real Sociedad player, who missed the last two matches through suspension and injury, is among the seven professionals called up by the Kenyan coach Zedekiah Otieno for the decisive match at the Nelson Mandela Namboole stadium on Saturday.
"Derbies are never easy. It is going to a hard match for both teams. It will be a fierce contest," said Mariga, before leaving Nairobi to join the team at their training base in Mumias town, close to the Kenya-Uganda border.
The build-up to the match has intensified in the two countries, as both of the great regional arch-rivals have still got the chance to qualify for the finals in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in January and February.
The game, however, has huge implications for the hosts, who currently sit on top of the group J with 10 points, and only need a win or a draw to reach the finals for the first time in 33 years.
The Kenyans, placed third with seven points can also still make the finals if they can snatch a rare away victory, hoping second-placed Angola beat Guinea Bissau in other group match in Bissau.