NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 3 – Harambee Stars head coach Sebastien Migne had five foreign based players in camp on Monday evening as preparations began in earnest ahead of Saturday’s crucial African Cup of Nations Qualifier against Ghana at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.
The Zambia legion of keeper Ian Otieno (Red Arrows), Teddy Akumu, Jesse Were and David Owino (Zesco) as well as Clifton Miheso (Buildcon) joined a bigger group of local based players in training though Miheso sat out with a bout of flu.
The tactician expects to have more players trickling in on Tuesday and by evening should have his entire squad as he carefully sifts out the best 18 to name for Saturday’s do or die tie.
“I am happy to start with some new players today. In June it was only with locals and some foreign based players and it was a long time to wait for four months before I could have my entire squad together,” Migne said after conducting the first session on Monday.
He added; “Hopefully tomorrow 9Tuesday) I can have all the players in and we can start develop a good link and look at them to get a good line up for Ghana.”
The Sweden based David Ochieng and Eric Johannah (IF Bromma) as well as Ovellah Ochieng and Erick ‘Marcelo’ Ouma (Vassalund) are already on their way and should be available for the Tuesday evening session at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies.
There’s a huge hope that skipper Wanyama will be available for the tie with the midfield enforcer having just returned to full training and only made the bench for his club Tottenham Hotspur in last weekend’s 2-1 loss to Watford in the English Premier League.
Wanyama has been out with a recurring knee problem and has missed the entire opening four games for Spurs including a huge chunk of the pre-season.
The team is already without the suspended duo of Brian Mandela and Ayub Timbe with the latter’s absence set to be especially felt after hitting top form for his Chinese Super League side Beijing Renhe.
Stars began their campaign for the qualification to next year’s Cup of Nations with a bad footing losing 2-1 away to Sierra Leone and the match against Ghana on Saturday will have a huge bearing on whether their campaign goes north or South.
“We are playing against one of the best teams in the continent and we know it is a tough game. But if we are mentally strong, we can win. We are playing at home and we have to make sure we win so that our chances of making it to the Cup of Nations remain high,” assistant captain Owino said.
Midfielder Francis Kahata has also called upon fans to turn out in large numbers at Kasarani and cheer on the team as they keep the dream of making it to the Cup of Nations for the first time since 2004 rolling.