NAIROBI, July 2– Newly signed Gor Mahia winger, Paul Were will be included in Harambee Stars squad for Saturday’s return leg against Ethiopia with Kenya’s 2016 CHAN hopes hanging in the balance.
Head coach Bobby Williamson, will be banking on the former PSL attacking midfielder to play a starring role in their bid to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the away first-leg.
“He (Were) should hopefully join the squad but we will have a look at his match fitness because he has not played since he scored in Congo Brazzaville,” Williamson stated.
Were, who penned a six-month deal with domestic champions Gor Mahia, missed the Ethiopia trip since he was ineligible to feature in the tournament open only to locally based players.
The Scotsman admitted it will be an uphill task to score three answered goals that will see them advance to the second round where Sudan who got a bye await.
“We can’t be pessimistic. The other day, guys said we can’t overturn a 3-0 deficit when we lost to Botswana in the Olympics qualifiers but we shocked many by scoring four. We hope to do the same on Saturday.
“We need to score two quick goals then take it from there. But it’s going to be difficult because we wasted a penalty that could have given us an away goal advantage,” he outlined.
With defenders, Musa Mohammed, Harun Shakava (Gor), Dennis Odhiambo (Thika United) and Were included in the squad; Williamson said he will make slight changes to the first XI in Ethiopia.
“I know it’s a strong team but I’m sure they don’t know our strategy since we have new faces, so hopefully we will surprise them.”
Midfielder, Collins Okoth who captained the team in Ethiopia was confident they will qualify for the second round of the qualifiers.
“We played well in Ethiopia because we created more chances. They scored from our defensive mistakes but come Saturday, we will turn tables.
“We have good strikers who can do the job; Michael Olunga scored four against Chemelil over the weekend Jesse Were scored two past All Stars, so I’m sure we can’t miss three goals,” Okoth told Capital Sport.
Ethiopia are expected to arrive Thursday and are scheduled to train at Ruaraka Grounds before having a feeling of the venue on the eve of the match.
Kenya who are set to host the 2018 edition, will be seeking to qualify for their first final ever when the championship will be hosted in Rwanda.