NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 27 – Harambee Stars skipper Victor Wanyama is convinced Kenya will put in a strong squad for the African nations Championship (CHAN) next year after watching some impressive performances from the local lads in the two friendly matches against Uganda and DR Congo.
Head Coach Stanley Okumbi handed first team debuts to goalkeeper Patrick Matasi, defender Robinson Kamura and forward Samuel Onyango, all impressing.
Other local based lads who featured in the two matches include Posta’s Jockins Atudo, Gor skipper Musa Mohammed and keeper Boniface Oluoch, Kariobangi Sharks’ Osborne Monday and Tusker’s Noah Wafula.
“From what we have seen in the two friendly matches, I believe we have a strong squad of local based players who can go further and win CHAN here at home. It is just a matter of time for them. They need to gel together, work harder and we will be there,” Wanyama said after skippering the side to the 2-1 win over DR Congo.
He was particularly in praise of Ulinzi Stars’ Samwel Onyango who impressed in both games.
“He is a fighter and he works hard; anyone who does that ends up giving his best. He showed what he can do. We are grateful for him and the performance he had over the two games as well as what the team did. It was great,” the imposing midfielder who turns out for English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur pointed out.
Kenya will be hosting the biennial continental showpiece designated for home based players in January next year, and the federation is working round the clock to ensure Kenya puts in a good squad to challenge for the title currently held by DR Congo.
Meanwhile, the skipper has lavished the team with praises, pointing out growth in fighting spirit and character, hoping they can maintain the same momentum to August when the first qualifying match for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification will be played.
“The mentality of the players is different this time. We talked before the game and we agreed to fight till the end. It was hard though the pitch was not great but we showed our character. It was great to win,” the skipper noted.
He adds; “Our performance means we have learnt something over the years and we are now headed somewhere. Hopefully we can continue like this and keep the streak going ahead of the qualifiers.”
Meanwhile, his deputy David Owino has pointed out the team wanted to give the fans who turned out in large numbers something to smile about and adds their confidence has been boosted with the win.
“We saw how fans had turned out and everybody made a decision to push themselves to give them a lovely afternoon. It is important to win and go 10 matches unbeaten. If we can keep this pattern, we will achieve our targets,” the defender who turns out for Zambian top tier side Zesco United said.