NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 7- Harambee Stars head coach Sebastien Migne has urged fans to turn out in large numbers at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on Saturday when they take on Ghana’s Black Stars in a 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifier.
The tactician wants the 60,000-seater stadium to buzz in deafening crescendo and fans flood the stadium to shout their voices hoarse as Stars look to put their 2019 AFCON qualifying campaign back on track.
“In Egypt when I was with Congo, we played for the World Cup qualification and the whole stadium was full in red color. It will be interesting to see all the fans in red, even if it is 30,000 but in Kasarani we can have more. I want to see everyone in red color on Saturday,” the tactician said as he rallied fans to come in behind the team.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has printed 45,000 tickets for the tie and interestingly, none was available in advance with all the tickets being sold on match day.
But, Migne has urged fans to give them a push in a match he says will be tough and will need all available motivation to ensure they pick maximum points.
“I know Ghana is a huge opponent and it is one of the best five teams in Africa. I saw their last games against Iceland and Japan and it will require a huge performance for us to win against them on Saturday, but we need the fans behind us,” the French tactician said.
The tactician has hinted that he will not be sitting back against the Ghanaians, saying he will field an attacking team for the game, going for goals and a possible win.
“My philosophy is to try to win first. We need to play like a team, as a unit. I don’t want to pack a bus infront of my box. Sometimes it can happen but my philosophy is to try to be opportunistic and show something interesting on the pitch,” the tactician said.
This will be the first real test for the tactician since his appointment, a first competitive match in his tenure. He has been in charge of six matches, two friendly games and the three matches he played at the Four-Nation invitational tournament in India.
He lost his first game in charge, 1-0 against Swaziland in a friendly with local based players at home before winning against Equatorial Guinea. In the India tournament, the tactician won 2-1 against New Zealand and 4-0 against Chinese Taipei.
Their two losses came from the hands of India, losing 3-0 and 2-0.
Migne says he is not under pressure ahead of his first match in charge.
“I am not nervous. Why should I be? This is my job and I am used to it. Maybe there’s small pressure because it is a crucial game but I like the pressure. I am sure my players will give their best on the pitch,” said Migne.
The tactician has a headache as far as putting out a competitive squad is concerned. Brian Mandela and Ayub Timbe are suspended, skipper Victor Wanyama is out with fitness issues, Paul Were is injured and now, defender David Owino might miss the tie with a hamstring injury.
“I am confident that I have a strong team and everyone is ready. I have only three days with the whole squad, it is not enough time but at least I know the players,” the coach opined.
He has insisted that his long term plan is on the 2021 AFCON and has said he should not be crucified basing on this AFCON qualification campaign as he needs more time to build a strong team.
He has also insisted that as far as the 2019 qualification campaign is concerned, the two home and away games against Ethiopia in October will be the most crucial.
“Ghana, yes, it will be important, but for me, the most important is Ethiopia. If we can win the two games against them, then we play a Cup final against Sierra Leone at home. If we get points against Ghana it will be good but it will be tough,”
“We know that Ghana is better than Kenya, we can’t lie about that. But in one game, we can do something. In football, everything is possible,” Migne opined.