NAIROBI, Kenya, August 1- Harambee Stars head coach, Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno has stated next Wednesday’s friendly against Botswana will be a key test for his side as they prepare to wrap up their 2012 Nations Cup qualifiers.
Speaking to Capital Sport, Otieno said, “Botswana were the first team to qualify for the Nations Cup and their quality is in no doubt that is why I intend to field my best team against them.”
Consequently, the head coach will call all the country’s foreign brigade for the match as Kenyan prepares to host Guinea Bissau next month in their next Nations Cup qualifier before facing group leaders Uganda away to complete their campaign.
“We have already sent them invitational letters and I expect them to honour this match since it falls on the international Fifa friendlies calendar,” he added.
On the side’s prospects, Otieno reiterated all is not lost despite the team needing two resounding victories in their last two matches and hope for Angola to clip leaders Uganda by a huge margin to entertain a chance of making the Equatorial Guinea and Gabon continental showpiece.
“We have to give it our best for one since anything can happen and two; we will have laid a good platform for the 2014 qualifiers if we getting the winning mentality back. There is also the issue of our poor ranking that we need to improve by doing well in these three matches,” the tactician explained.
The next qualifiers are on the weekend of September 2-4 where Kenya will be eliminated is they lose to Guinea Bissau who beat them 1-0 in Bissau or they draw and Angola defeat Uganda.
Uganda will join Botswana in the Nations Cup if the avoid defeat in Luanda while Guinea Bissau will be knocked out by defeat to Kenya or a draw with Stars if Angola top the Cranes.
Qualifiers will end on the weekend of October 7 and 9 with Kenya travelling to Nambole to face Uganda as Guinea Bissau entertain the Palancas Negras.
The Cranes top Group J on ten points with Angola on six and Kenya on four in third one ahead of Guinea Bissau who prop the standings.
Stars fell 2-1 to Sudan in their last home friendly during the finals of the 2011 LG Cup in June.