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Stars out to lick the ‘Flava out of Bongo’

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NAIROBI, Kenya, November 14- Harambee Stars arrived in Mwanza ahead of their match against Taifa Stars on Wednesday at the CCM Kirumba Stadium confident of claiming the scalp of the hosts.

After settling down, head coach Henri Michel took the team through a training session at the match venue that was described as very dry and hard.

As the team went through their paces they were surprised to see over 5,000 fans inside the stadium watching Michel’s squad with his opposite number Kim Poulsen naming a strong squad to take on their East African rivals.

The Tanzania media has hyped the match and a good crowd is expected to turn up for the game, but fans hoping to see Celtic star Victor Wanyama were disappointed to learn that he did not make the team due to illness.

Also missing from the Kenyan side is first-choice custodian, Arnold Origi who was excused by Michel due to a load of upcoming fixtures for his Norwegian side.

Captain Dennis Oliech, who netted from the spot in Stars last outing against South Africa last month that ended in a 2-1 reverse and Patrick Oboya are some of the foreign based players expected to provide the firepower upfront.

Jerry Santos who is adored among the Tanzanian league side Simba SC faithful and Patrick Osiako who plays for Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva are in contention for places in the midfield having missed the Bafana match.

Michel has underlined the importance of securing a win in his second match in charge saying, “I want the team to show the same commitment and character they showed against South Africa and work on the mistakes they did.”

The Frenchman is keen to claim victory to improve the country’s FIFA ranking that stands at position 130 having admitted it would take some work to haul the country back to the high table of football.

Kenyans who live in the lake side town of Mwanza will form the bulk of support for the visitors in the match that kicks-off at 4:30 EAT.

On the other hand, Dane Poulsen has unveiled a largely experimental squad that is laced with established talent and upcoming youngsters.

According to Tanzania’s Daily News, the TP Mazembe’s duo Samatta Mbwana and Thomas Ulimwengu are expected to spearhead the Taifa Stars attacks alongside Azam’s towering striker John Bocco.

Juma Kaseja is expected to stand between the posts ahead of Deogratius Munishi ‘Dida’, with Kelvin Yondani, Aggrey Morris, Shomari Kapombe and Amir Maftah most likely to start in defence.

Poulsen’s midfield line-up is up in the air with Shaaban Nditi, Athumani Idd, Abubakar, Amri Kiemba, Mwinyi Kazimoto and Frank Domayo all vying for the starting berth.

Kenya won 2-1 the last time they faced Tanzania in 2009 with Poulsen scheduled to name his squad for the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup that starts in Kampala on November 24 after the game.

SQUADS

HARAMBEE STARS

Goalkeepers: Jacktone Odhiambo (Ulinzi Stars), Fredrick Onyango (Gor Mahia)

Defenders: Simiyu Wafula (AFC Leopards), Eugene Asike( Sofapaka), Geoffrey Kokoyo (Ulinzi Stars), James Mulinge (Ulinzi Stars), Brian Mandela (Santos), Christopher Wekesa (Gor Mahia, James Situma (Sofapaka )

Midfielders: Jerry Santos (Coastal Union, Peter Opiyo (Tusker), Charles Okwemba (AFC Leopards), Patrick Osiako (Hapoel Be’er Sheva), Francis Kahata (Thika United), Andrew Tololwa (Mathare United), Osborne Monday (Sofapaka)

Forwards: Dennis Oliech (Auxerre), Wesley Kemboi (Western Stima), Moses Arita (Thika United), Ayub Timbe (RC Genk), Patrick Oboya (MFK Ruzomberok)


TAIFA STARS

Goalkeepers: Juma Kaseja and Deogratius Munishi

Defenders: Nassor Masoud, Agrey Morris, Kelvin Yondani, Shomari Kapombe, Erasto Nyoni, Amir Maftah and Issa Rashid

Midfielders: Ramadhan Singano, Salum Abubakar, Mwinyi Kazimoto, Athuman Idd, Frank Domoya, Shaaban Nditi, Amri Kiemba and Mrisho Ngassa

Forwards: John Bocco, Simon Msuva, Mbwana Samata, Thomas Ulimwengu and Edward Christopher

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