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Malawi land, ready to tackle confident Stars

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Malawi players train at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on September 10, 2018 ahead of their friendly match against Harambee Stars. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 10 – After the huge morale boosting 1-0 victory over Ghana on Saturday in a 2019 African Cup of Nations Qualifier in Nairobi, Kenya’s Harambee Stars will look to wind down the international break on a high when they host Malawi’s flames in an international friendly match on Tuesday.

The Malawi national team arrived in the country early Monday morning ahead of Tuesday’s friendly. They flew in from Morocco where they lost to the hosts 3-0 in a Group B 2019 AFCON Qualifier tie.

The team trained at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani and head coach Ronny Van Leweugden is looking forward for a huge clash against the hosts with his biggest concentration being on tactically preparing his side for next month’s AFCON qualifier against Cameroon.

“For us it’s a very important game because we as a tactical panel, we wanted very much this game because next month we play home and away against Cameroon. We come with a good intention to have a good match. We know Kenya will play with a lot of confidence after that victory against Ghana,” the tactician said.

Harambee Stars Head coach Sebastien Migne is expected to make changes to his squad, giving rest to most who played against Ghana on Sunday as he looks to see other players in action. Midfielder Ismail Gonzalez did not train with the rest on Sunday but was on the pitch Monday morning.

Also unlikely to play against Malawi are Sweden based midfielders Ovellah Ochieng and Eric Johannah.

Malawi head coach Ronny Van Leweugden at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on September 10, 2018 ahead of their friendly match against Harambee Stars. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

The tactician will still have a strong squad to choose from with the likes of Sweden based stars Erick Ouma and David Ochieng set to start, the latter having come on as a second half substitute against Ghana.

Midfielder Anthony Akumu and his Zesco United teammate Jesse Were are also expected to be given slots to impress the new coach Migne who has not seen them in competitive play.

Meanwhile, Kenya is keen not to let off the feel good factor after beating Ghana and are treating the Malawi tie with just as much seriousness.

“It is another opportunity to build on the team because we have a new coach with new philosophies. Such friendly games are important to build cohesion in the team,” Captain Musa Mohammed said.

Striker Michael Olunga added; “It is a match that we need to win because also apart from building confidence, it has an effect on FIFA rankings and as a country we want to go up.”

The Football Kenya Federation has announced it will lower the gate charges for the tie as a way of thanking fans who turned out in large numbers to cheer on the team against Ghana over the weekend.

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