Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson is hoping to record his first competitive victory with the senior team when his charges host Zambia’s Chipolpolo in a Group E 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier (Afcon) at Nyayo stadium Sunday afternoon.
For the first time in his 15 months on the job, Williamson has striker Dennis Oliech at his disposal and if he carries the form he displayed at training, then Chipolopolo’s defence are in for problems. Stars have also been boosted with return of four foreign-based players who missed the 1-1 draw against Congo, Brazaville during the first group qualifier.
The four are first choice custodian Arnold Origi, Lawrence Olum, Brian Mandela and Arnold Origi. Despite Origi’s late arrival to the team, he was confident of winning the match and his reflexes clearly showed that he would be favoured over Boniface Oluoch between the posts.
“As a professional even a single training session with the rest of the team is enough. I have been training at club level and I’m in one of my best forms, “ said the Norway based custodian.
The match could go either way, given that both sides almost have an equal head-to-head record, but Zambia who are ranked 74th in the world has not lost any match in their last five qualifiers, while 116 ranked Stars has only won against Comoros in Moroni in their last five continental qualifiers.
“Dennis has played very important matches for this country and is still useful to the national team. He’s shown quality and sharpness in training and hopefully together with other strikers we’ll record victory on Sunday,” Williamson told People Sport.
Oliech is likely to start with Michael Olunga as the twin strikers, but on the left flank Williamson would be spoilt for choice on starting with the Paul Were who was the man of the match against Congo or Belgium-based Ayub Timbe or former regular Francis Kahata.
In defence, he is likely to have the same headache, choosing among Olum, Mandela, David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng, Haroun Shakava and David Owino. “All these players are very good and competition is very stiff. Some players will be disappointed at not getting the nod but what can I do. I have to balance the team to achieve the desired result,” said Williamson.