Timbe keen to fire Stars to Afcon

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ADEL-AMROUCHENAIROBI, Kenya, June 2 – “Our journey has started so we need to work more and harder than what we have done as we focus to qualify in next year’s Afcon in Morocco.”

Those were the words Belgium-based Racing Genk midfielder, Ayub Timbe, declared when Harambee Stars returned from Comoros after inspiring the side to qualify for the second round of the 2015 Afcon qualifiers by scoring the crucial goal in a 1-1 stalemate.

Timbe, who impressed in the first leg against the islanders on May 18, is seeking to feature in his first Nations Cup with Stars who last made it in 2004 but they need to progress from the second round and then top Group C of the final qualifiers that has Burkina Faso, Angola and Gabon to lock down a place in Morocco next year.

It was the 57th minute well executed free-kick by the midfielder in Moroni that gave the team a vital away goal against a side ranked 78 places below them.

“The most important thing is that we won and achieved what we wanted. I’m happy to be in the national team for my second time and scoring my first goal.

“As soon as we were awarded the free-kick, it was either me or Wanyama to take it but when he gave me the go ahead, I was sure I was going to score because I had seen the positioning of the keeper,” he said.

“Fans should expect more from me in the national team and I want to do more to satisfy them and make my country proud,” Timbe, who celebrated his second cap told Capital Sport.

In the absence of axed record goal scorer Dennis Oliech, Amrouche started with MC Alger striker Edwin Lavatsa upfront with KF Tirana midfielder Francis Kahata who missed the first leg after misplacing his travelling document stepping in for play maker Jamal Mohammed who plies his trade in Oman.

Kahata’s good runs in the midfield was felt as he combined well with Stars captain and Southampton defensive midfielder Victor Wanyama with the former Thika United player setting a low pass to Lavatsa in what could have been counted as the opener in the 48th, but the lanky former Gor Mahia winger’s effort hit the side net.

The return of Norway side Lillestrom shot-stopper Arnold Origi was a boost to Stars as he stood up on several occasions to rescue Kenya’s blushes with Soule Mohammed, Fouad Bachirou and Mohammed Yousouf who were good on set pieces threatening from the left where Tusker FC’s Aboud Omar had a game to forget.

Having sweat against Comoros, a side ranked 184th in the world, Kenya will face Lesotho in Maseru without Amrouche, who was banished to the stands in Moroni for confronting the fourth official and such was his wrath at what he termed the willingness of the local press to highlight the sending off that he declined to speak to journalists upon arrival.

Stars will travel for their second round first leg on the weekend of July 18 and 20 before hosting Lesotho in Nairobi a fortnight later.

Kenya have over one month to prepare adequately for the next round and build up matches would help the team to bond since most of the European league have concluded, enabling foreign based players be available until after World Cup.

Amrouche charges will be facing a side that they have beaten three times in five encounters with the aggregate winner over the two legs joining 2013 Afcon finalist Burkina Faso, Angola and Gabon in Group C for the final qualifiers.

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