NAIROBI, Kenya, December 1 – Harambee Stars have a chance to get their Orange Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup back on the rails when they play Djibouti on Wednesday.Last Saturday’s 2-0 loss against Zambia left more questions than answers about the state of the national side post the qualifiers, a situation that stand in coach Twahir Muhiddin hopes to put right.
The hosts will be emboldened by the 5-0 thrashing Djibouti received at the hands of Ethiopia especially with the calibre of attackers they have in their stable.
It will be interesting to see whether Muhiddin will stick with Francis Ouma and Allan Wanga upfront after both strikers spurned several gilt edged chances in front of the Zambian goal.
The veteran coach has suitable options in Sofapaka’s John Baraza and teenage striker George Odhiambo who caused the Chipolopolo defence something to think about when he came on as a sub on Saturday.
Peter Opiyo and Lawrence Owino are certainities to retain their midfiled berths after a commanding display over the weekend and should disrupt Djibouti’s free flowing game.
Another unit most likely to remain intact is the defence despite leaking two late goals against Zambia.
The physical presence of captain Julius Owino, Edgar Ochieng and George Owino should unsettle the diminutive Djibouti attack while they also have the option of Kenya Commercial Bank’s (KCB) Pascal Ochieng on the bench.
Stars take on Djibouti at 4 p.m. at Nyayo Stadium immediately after Zambia’s encounter with Ethiopia at the same venue.
On Tuesday, Zimbabwe and Eritrea played out a barren draw at Nyayo in a match that saw both teams miss several chances.
Warriors coach Norman Mapeza was not a happy man after the match blaming on his team’s late arrival in the country and inexperience.
“It was a game of two halves. In the first period we attacked but in the second we let the Eritreans come at us so we have to be consistent,” said Mapeza.
“Most of the players in this team are from the Under-23 team so they lack the experience. We also had limited time to train and just arrived this morning (Wednesday),” he added.
Eritrean coach Negasi Negash was pleased with the result stating that they were up against tough opponents.
“Zimbabwe are the champions of COSAFA (Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) which made it a tough game for us. My strikers missed a lot of chances but we will change our formations and see what happens in our next match against Rwanda.
In Mumias, Tanzania beat neighbours Zanzibar 1-0.