NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 15 – Due to the unavailability of the Kasarani and Nyayo Stadia which are closed for renovation, Ulinzi Stars will host Egyptian side Smouha’s return leg CAF Confederations Cup first round tie at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Saturday.
Ulinzi vice chairman Major Joe Birgen has confirmed that all plans are in place for the tie with the Egyptians who arrived in Nairobi on Wednesday morning set to train at the match venue on Friday afternoon.
“The only option we had for the match is Machakos now that both Nyayo and Kasarani are closed. Nakuru is yet to be approved by CAF so we couldn’t host the match there,” Birgen said.
Ulinzi head into the tie carrying a heavy 4-0 deficit from the first leg in Alexandria last Friday and head coach Benjamin Nyangweso has admitted they have a mountain to climb if they are to progress to the second round.
The soldiers need to win 4-0 in the least to send the game to penalties or win by a margin of five clear goals to progress outright.
“It is not an easy task because they are not an easy team. It’s not a match that we can just go there and say we will win 4-0. They are good and organized and we need to be at our best. We are working hard in training and our focus is getting the best result on the day,” the tactician opined.
Nyangweso was disappointed with his side’s performance as they were undone by a speedy and tactically apt Smouha.
“I don’t know what happened that day because we did not play as we had planned. We couldn’t run well and we ended up giving them space to hit us. These are some of the mistakes we are analyzing and hopefully we will correct and do better at home,” Nyangweso added.
But Birgen though is confident that anything can happen in football and affirms the team will be going all out in the return tie.
“This is football and anything can happen. Overturning the result is a possibility. But at the same time we are facing a tough team which is very good tactically. If all players give their best and we seal the loopholes from the first leg, we can do better,” Birgen said.
Meanwhile, the team has reduced gate charges for the return tie with terrace tickets going for Ksh50 while main stand tickets will sell at Ksh100 in a bid to attract more fans and ramp up the 12th man support.