Football Football

Mandela return hands Stars boost

Brian Mandela in action while training for Harambee Stars. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

NAIROBI, October 9 – Harambee Stars have been handed a major boost after South Africa’s Maritzburg United defender, Brian Mandela arrived for Sunday’s 2018 World Cup pre qualifier return leg against Mauritius at Kasarani Stadium.

Mandela missed the first-leg where Stars eased 5-2 after Football Kenya Federation (FKF) failed to send him ticket alongside Norway’s Lillestrome first choice keeper, Arnold Origi and Zesco United defender, David ‘Calabar’ Owino.

His presence will hand head coach, Bobby Williamson an option that could see him bench David Ochieng who picked a yellow card in Port Louis.

Stars who conducted first training on Friday have their work cut out after their biggest win that left Mauritius needing four unanswered goals to overturn the deficit that could deny Kenya a meeting with Cape Verde in the next round.

The Scotsman is expected to ring minimal changes from his winning squad with Ulinzi Stars winger, Kevin Amwayi likely to replace Azam forward, Allan Wanga who was ineffective in the first leg.

However, Williamson urged his charges not to down play their opponents since they expect the Les Dodos to chance their tactics.

“It will not be as easy as many may think because I know Mauritius will change their game plan and they will be seeking to score early. I hope we will maintain the momentum,” the head coach stated.

Mauritius head coach, Alain Happe is positive they can improve on their disappointing start but admitted it will be an uphill task to overturn the deficit.

“I know it will be difficult but anything is possible and I hope we will have a good match on Sunday for the continuation of the team. We lost because of simple mistakes but I’m hopeful we can improve in the second leg,” the Frenchman underscored.

The team had to shift their training to Ruaraka Sports Ground after finding Kasarani already booked.

Officials from Cameroon will run the match that will kick-off at 4pm local time (+3GMT) with Cosmas Mandeng Bakaly mandated the center referee assisted by countrymen Joseph Fuanta Lambi and Pierre Enyegue while Christopher Nde will be the fourth official.

Congolese Daniel Louzaya will be the referee Inspector while Egyptian Mostapha Hisham will be the match commissioner.

Tickets will retail at Sh500 for the VIP while terraces will sale at Sh100.