After having their egos bruised in a shock 1-0 defeat by Africa football minnows Swaziland in their first of the two friendly matches in Machakos last Friday, Harambee Stars will be seeking for an improved display when they face Equatorial Guinea (Nzalang Nationale) today.
Kenya are currently placed 111th in the Fifa rankings and Stars’ defeat in the hands of Swaziland, who are 131st in the same rankings, sent tongues wagging among Kenyan football fans with most casting doubt over the team’s capability of challenging a much stronger Black Stars of Ghana in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier in September.
But Stars coach Sebastien Migne has insisted that he wanted to look at all the talent at his disposal against Sihlangu Semnikati ahead of the Black Stars match, hence the idea of trying out mostly untested players, but nonetheless expressed confidence that the team will bounce back from the shock defeat.
“This is a game we should have won after dominating a huge chunk of the proceedings and I must concede that there was an element of bad luck. The players huffed and puffed but goals were not forthcoming and this is what needs to be addressed ahead of the Equatorial Guinea game,” said Migne after Friday’s defeat.
He added: “These friendly matches are necessary for me to gauge the players ahead of the much involving Afcon qualifiers against Ghana and Ethiopia.”
Perhaps Migne might consider giving play-time to players who did not taste action against Swaziland among them indefatigable defender Musa Mohammed, who captained Stars to a seventh CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup last December.
Just like Migne, Mohammed says Stars can win today’s match and urged fans to rally behind the team.
“Morale is high and the players are motivated. I urge fans to turn out in large numbers and cheer the team,” said Mohammed.
Besides Mohammed, other players who may be drafted in against the Equatorial Guineans include strikers Timothy Otieno and Crispin Oduor, defender Bolton Omwenga and goalkeeper Patrick Matasi, all who sat on the bench against Swaziland.