Football Football

Stars leave for date with destiny


NAIROBI, Kenya, October 7- Harambee Stars left Friday afternoon for Kampala ahead of their crunch East African derby against hosts, Uganda Cranes.

Head coach, Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno dropped four players from the travelling contingent namely; Gor Mahia keeper Jerim Onyango, Tusker defender Jockins Atudo, Coast Stars midfielder Ramah Salim and Albania based former Thika United striker Moses Arita.

The team left Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with 20 players and eight officials for the Saturday afternoon crash with The Cranes where the hosts will qualify with a win with Kenya are hoping for victory coupled with an Angola slip-up in Guinea Bissau to sail through.

“We don’t have pressure, the pressure is on them because they have to win, anything less for them and they are out. For us we will go and play easy mentally, it’s not about playing physically.

“Physically, they have won; they have more money, better pitches, they are at home but for us it’s just to prepare mentally for them and victory will be ours,” the team’s captain, Dennis Oliech told reporters.

“They have been saying East Africa is all about Tanzania and Uganda but time has come for us to show them that Kenyans are the best in the region. We have the professional and local players motivated for the game.

“For the fans who have travelled, we will not let them down since they have spent a lot, others have taken leave from their jobs for this game,” the in-form Ligue 1 AJ Auxerre striker added.

Head coach, Otieno noted the match that is steeped in history, with the first fixture played in 1926, would be a tense affair.

“We urge all our fans that have travelled and back at home to give us all the support since we will be facing one of our fiercest rivals on Saturday. I’m confident on the preparations we have made for the game,” Otieno underscored.

Assistant team captain, defender Pascal Ochieng observed, “For now, we cannot promise much apart we are focused on this match. We expect a tough match in Uganda but the support we have received has motivated us so much.”

Before departure, the team received their new travelling kit from East Africa Breweries through their Tusker brand.

During the presentation, the firm’s Marketing Manager for Kenya, Carol Ndungu announced the $1m (Sh110) three-year sponsorship deal for the team would be unveiled soon.

“Today however is not about Tusker, it is about giving our team a warm send off and to remind them that there will be more exciting discussions after the game in Kampala,” Ndungu noted.