NAIROBI, Kenya, January 5 – Harambee Stars will be searching for more than just goals when they take on Djibouti in their third Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup in Jinja on Tuesday.,
Stars who went into the tourney as the highest FIFA ranked team amongst the other competing nations must beat the ‘Shoremen of the Red Sea’ and need other results to go their way to harbour any hopes of reaching Sunday’s semi finals.
A major concern for Stars coach Francis Kimanzi is the failure by his players to score goals in their first two matches against defending champions Sudan and guest team Zambia.
Kimanzi had attributed his team’s bluntness in front of goal to a long and draining Kenya Premier League (KPL) season.
Last season’s KPL golden boot winner Francis Ouma who recently joined Tanzanian club Azam is among the strikers Kimanzi has at his disposal.
The rest of the striking corps that also includes Francis Ochieng and Boniface Ambani will be under pressure to deliver despite playing against a team with a questionable defence.
Sweden based midfielder Jamal Mohamed who played a pivotal role in catapulting Kenya into the second round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers is yet to exert his influence on his team’s fortunes and will be keen to show his worth against Tuesday’s opponents at Bugembe Stadium.
Stars defence, led by captain Edgar ‘Fighter’ Ochieng alongside George Owino, John Njoroge and Mulinge Ndetto have managed to hold its own against what was deemed to be their toughest Group B opponents but will undoubtedly be taking Djibouti seriously.
Unlike their more illustrious adversaries, Djibouti have managed to find the back of the net in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Sudan after crushing defeats to Zambia and Burundi.
The gulf in class between Stars and Djibouti is illustrated by the massive 120 place difference between both teams in the FIFA World rankings with fans hoping that chasm will manifest itself in Kenya’s favour come kick off.