NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 6 – Despite dropping points against Libya on Tuesday evening, Harambee Stars head coach Paul Put says he was impressed with the performance of his charges in his second match in charge of the national team.
Put notes there has been great improvement both individually and as a team and he believes they are headed to replicate his playing style and philosophy and the work put in during training is bearing fruit.
“For me, I think we played better than the Rwanda game. Winning does not always mean that you play well. The performance footballwise was great; we tried to play football and not kicking the ball and I think we have made some good progress,” the Belgian tactician said.
Put fielded almost the same squad that played against Rwanda with the exception of Ulinzi Stars winger Samuel Onyango who missed the match entirely.
Despite creating several scoring chances in either half, Stars could not hit the bull’s eye but Put says it is something that will eventually come freely.
“It was a very difficult game against Libya which is a very good team. They have quality players and noting we created more chances than them, says we were the better team. Unfortunately in the second half our levels dropped because this was the second match we are playing in three days,” the coach pointed out.
Kenya leads the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup Group A with four points and do not play until Saturday, meaning the stats on the table might change with Thursday’s games in mind.
Rwanda will play Libya while Tanzania Mainland faces second placed Zanzibar in a local derby. Put though is confident of leading Kenya to the semi-finals with a win when they face Zanzibar on Saturday in Machakos.
“I watched a bit of their game against Rwanda and I see they are a very good team inside the box. They are players with motivation, quick on the counter attack and very efficient with long balls. It will not be an easy game but Inshaalah we shall be in the next round,” he noted.
Striker Massoud Juma is a major doubt for the Saturday game after picking up an ankle injury against Libya. He had to be rushed to hospital at the end of the first half.
“It looks serious but I will wait and see how it progresses between now and Saturday. I am not sure whether I will play,” Juma told Capital Sports.
Kenya is looking to replicate their form in 2013 when the tournament was last hosted in Kenya and pick up their seventh Senior Challenge title.