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Olunga, ‘Calabar’ in rallying call for Ghana tie

Harambee stars Head Coach Sebastien Migne shares words with deputy captain David Owino during a training session at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies on September 5, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 5 – Saturday afternoon’s 2019 African Cup of Nations Qualifier against Ghana’s Black Stars will be a huge test for Harambee Stars as far as their dream of sitting on the table of kings in African football is concerned.

Having started the campaign with a 2-1 loss at the hands of Sierra Leone away from home, another defeat on Saturday will be detrimental to their qualification hopes and as thus, the players have vowed to give their all on the pitch and slay the Ghana dragon and put their hopes alive.

David Owino who will take on the captain’s armband with the absence of Victor Wanyama who has not been passed fit after only returning from injury, believes that despite standing against a bigger and tougher opponent, Kenya can get a win in their own backyard.

“Training has been okay and everyone is focused for the game and we want to give our best and win. We know that Ghana is a big team with very experienced and mature players but with a right mentality and good attitude, I believe we can get a result,” the defender who turns out for Zambian champions Zesco United said.

Owino has acknowledged that coming into the game, the Ghanaians are clear favorites, but notes that playing at home should be motivation enough for them to get results.

“Fans should come out in large numbers and support us for the game. We will do our best and promise they will go back home happy,” the soft spoken, but tough tackling defender further said.

Harambee stars striker Michael Olunga (background) with defender Erick ‘Marcelo’ Ouma during a training session at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies on September 5, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

These are sentiments shared by striker Michael Olunga who will shoulder the burden of banging in the goals that will help the team get off with three points against the West Africans.

The forward who scored Kenya’s lone goal in the 2-1 defeat to Sierra Leone says they have pit whatever happened in Free Town behind them and will be focused on getting a better result at home against Ghana.

“The Sierra Leone game is behind our backs and we now have to focus on Ghana. It was unfortunate that we lost our first game but we have an opportunity to redeem ourselves. We have to focus on getting a result and knowing two teams will qualify for the group should be enough motivation for us,” the striker said.

He added; “If we beat Ghana, then that will mean we have very high chances of qualifying.”

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Olunga, who began life with new Japanese club Kashiwa Reysol on a good footing scoring and setting up an assist in his first three games hopes he can translate the same form to the national team and continue his goal scoring exploits.

“Such are the games that every player looks forward for. We expect a lot from it but it’s going to require a lot of team effort. Each player needs to give 100pc for team and country. We have to rise to the occasion, play the ball in their court and pull out something from the game,” further noted the striker.

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