NAIROBI, June 20 – Harambee Stars arrived in Zimbabwe on Friday afternoon ahead of Sunday’ World cup qualifier against the hosts.
The squad of 18 players and nine officials who had left Nairobi earlier in the day will face the Warriors whom they beat 2-0 at Nyayo national stadium last weekend in the return leg at Rufaro Stadium in the Zimbabwean capital.
The squad travelled without Parma midfielder Macdonald Mariga who has been ruled out the match due to injury and Patrick Oboya who is suspended.
The 21 year old midfielder has not sufficiently recovered from a cut he sustained on his shin during last weekend’s match.
World Hope’s Levy Muaka was included in the travelling contingent together with Sher Karuturi’s Noah Ayuko and Gor Mahia’s Andrew Oyombe.
Stars coach Francis Kimanzi said he was confident that the replacements will provide adequate cover.
“We have players who have come on and I am confident they will be put in a good show,” he said.
He however admitted that the missing players will make the game tougher.
“What are going to lose is depth on the bench since some of the players who have come on as substitutes like Kevin Ochieng will start so we will not have the same options we have enjoyed so far,” he observed.
The team held two training sessions at City Park hockey stadium to familiarise themselves with the astro turf pitch as they will be playing on a similar surface on Sunday.
“The players have had a feel of it and know what to expect so it will not pose a big problem. We have also bought specific boots which we shall use on Sunday,” said Kimanzi.
Sher goalkeeper Noah Ayuko is expected to start in goal with the rest of the back line featuring Anthony Kimani, George Owino, Edgar Ochieng and John Njoroge providing defensive cover.
In midfield, Oyombe and Kevin Ochieng are expected to start with is expected to start.
Stars currently top group two with six points from three matches. Zimbabwe are second with four points while Guinea who also have four points are third while Namibia are bottom with three points.
In the group’s other weekend fixture, The Brave Warriors travel to Conakry where they will play Guinea on Sunday.
Noah Ayuko, Jacktone Odhiambo, Anthony Kimani, John Njoroge, Edgar Ochieng, Lloyd Wahome, Austin Makacha, Titus Mulama, Robert Mambo, Kevin Ochieng, Osborne Monday, Dennis Oliech, Allan Wanga, Jospeh Shikokoti, George Owino, Andrew Oyombe, Levy Muaka and Francis Ouma.
Head Coach: Francis Kimanzi, Assistants: James Nandwa, Yusuf Chippo,
Team doctor: Wycliffe Makanga
Team manager: Peter Serry