NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 23 – Harambee Stars interim coach Twahir Muhiddin is optimistic his team can handle the pressure of being Orange Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup.Muhiddin who oversaw the team’s first training on Monday morning said that his charges will focus on winning each of their Pool A games before they set their sights on winning the trophy.
“We (coaching staff) are trying to ease the pressure of the players by telling them to concentrate on each match,” said Muhiddin.
“As the days go by we will be able to pick up on the mistakes and correct them as soon as possible,” he added.
The veteran coach added that Saturday’s match against Africa Cup of nations finalists Zambia will be used to gauge how much the team has to do if they are to win the title for the first time since 2002.
“The first two games will be very important so that by the time we play our last pool game against Ethiopia we will know where we are,” said Muhiddin.
Stars captain Julius Owino admits his side have a mountain to climb in the pool stage and they will not be taking their rivals lightly.
“Our pool is tough. Zambia and Ethiopia will be worthy opponents but we are not underestimating Djibouti either because they will be here to prove a point,” said Owino.
The Gor Mahia stalwart added that his side is now settled and is rearing to come Saturday.
“I want to thank God for bringing us to this tournament. The team is ready, everybody is fit and hopefully we will perform well,” said Owino.
Eighteen of the 24 players called up were put through their paces under scorching sunshine at Moi International Sport Centre, Kasarani.
Francis Ouma, Jamal Mohamed, Patrick Oboya, Hillary Echesa, Allan Wanga and Amos Chona were expected to arrive in the course of Monday afternoon and Tuesday.
Kenya who were runners up in the last competition open their campaign against Zambia on Saturday at 4 p.m. and then play Djibouti on December 2 before winding up their pool matches against Ethiopia on two days later.
All Stars games will take place at Nyayo National Stadium.
The top two teams and best two qualifiers from all the three groups will proceed to the quarter finals.