Sports

Stars seek redemption

After a dull draw with lowly Comoros, Kenya face a bigger task to claw back pride for the nation

Ordinarily, playing against an unknown quantity is tricky in any sport not least football.

Harambee Stars have never has never played Central African Republic before and it will be interesting to observe how they will handle them during the second Fifa international friendly in Marrakech, Morocco tomorrow.

It will be even more trickier for Kenya who will have to make do without captain Victor Wanyama who has been summoned by his team Tottenham Hotspur due to crucial league engagements ahead.

According to Football Kenya Federation(FKF) boss Nick Mwendwa, they had made prior arrangements with Tottenhalm for Wanyama to play only one of the two friendlies as he was needed by his club to bolster the midfield in the league engagements.

After coming from behind to hold less fancied Comoros in their first international friendly on Saturday, this is the cache-22 situation Harambee Stars find themselves in when they lock horns with Central African Republic, better known as Les Fauves or the Wildebeests.

Against the vastly-improved Comoros, Stars started well by launching sporadic attacks which yielded a penalty that was converted by Wanyama but later lost flair, allowing the islanders to hit back two times before Cliffton Miheso came to the rescue with a late equaliser almost at the death.

Central Africa Republic are no strangers to teams from East African region having beaten Rwanda 2-1 in a 2018 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier which lends credence to the fact that it is not a team to be taken lightly.

Further, the central Africans are on record of having warmed up for the Kenya clash in a 1-1 draw with Gambia in their latest friendly in Bakau, Gambia on Friday, which is why Harambee Stars coach Stanely Okumbi should well be advised to field his strongest line-up if he harbours hopes of chalking up a win.

Miheso, who saved Stars from the jaws of defeat when he drilled in a late equalise in the 82nd minute against Comoros, has improved vastly since joining Zambian club Buildcon and is a sure bet for the second friendly.

Okumbi, who preferred a foreigners legion-dominated squad, might also prefer to give a second chance to Gor Mahia’s Francis Kahata and goalkeeper Patrick Matasi who starred for the team in the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup held in Kenya last year.

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