NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – Kenyans can now dare dream of seeing their football team play at the African Cup of Nations after Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Ethiopia in a Group F qualifier at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani took Harambee Stars to the cusp of qualification for next year’s showpiece in Cameroon.
And head coach Sebastien Migne has pumped in perhaps the biggest injection of confidence saying the team is on its way to creating a beautiful page in Kenyan football history.
“We are not far from creating something really interesting for Kenya. I think we will create something in this time and we can see that the hope is coming back in the country in terms of football. I hope we can continue in this way,” the tactician said.
He added; “Over the five months I have been here, I have seen the players improve a lot and we can only get better. We have not yet qualified because we don’t know what will happen with Sierra Leone, but we are on the way.”
Migne was a happy man seeing the huge crowd that turned out at the Kasarani Stadium to watch Stars play Ethiopia and he has now pleaded with the supporters to stick with the team through thick and thin.
‘It is very easy when you have victory, you have a lot of funs. But it is more difficuly when you are alone. I hope we keep having a lot of fans for the future because if we want to remain in the high level, we have to be like this,”
“I want to say a big thanks to the fans who came out. In the beginning, I challenged them to come and they came. I think we won the game because of the fans. It is important to have the 12th man advantage,” the tactician said.
Looking back at the match against Ethiopia, Migne was over the moon with the result especially the three-goal win, having lamented pre-match that his side’s attacking potent was not as strong as he wished.
“I am really happy and proud of my players. We had a clean sheet but not only that, I think we developed some good link up play. It was interesting offensively because we were better,” the tactician said.
He also lauded the performance of skipper Victor Wanyama for his performance on his second match with him, admitting that coaching the team is made half easy with the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder on the pitch.
“When you have a player like Victor, it is easy to be coach and on the way to victory when you have a player like him, it is better. He was a real captain; he wanted to take his team to AFCON and he showed that on the field, he took his responsibilities also for the penalty because at 3-0 you kill the game and there is pressure,” the tactician noted.
Also catching the tactician’s attention was midfielder Eric Johannah who put up a man of the match performance, playing part in all the three goals. He set up Michael Olunga for the opener before scoring the second and was brought down for Wanyama’s penalty.
Migne has revealed that on the eve of the match, he was undecided on who to start between the IF Bromma man and compatriot Ovellah Ochieng, but he says his final decision was vindicated with Johannah’s performance.
“Michael (Igendia), a member of my staff did some highlight video to show him what he can improve. He knew he would be on the field and I have full confidence in him. He is talented and I know what he can bring to the team though sometimes he can commit some mistakes and be lazy a bit. Today (Sunda) he was not perfect but almost perfect,” the tactician further stated.
Meanwhile, the tactician is pleased with the depth of his squad and he has put all players in the team on notice that only hard work will keep them in the team.
Migne says he is pleased that he has a pool of at least 25 players who can consistently perform at the high level, but he says he wants to increase the pool to add more options.
“If we are a group with only 11 players we can’t go far. We are not far to have 25 players with a good level, but it’s not finished. The door is always open to come in and go out they (players) need to repeat good performances with their club and with me to remain in the team,” the tactician noted.
For his next match, Migne will be without Aboud Omar who will be serving a one match suspension having picked a second yellow card. Winger Aboud Omar does not return until after the Ghana game, that is if Sierra Leone are reinstated in the qualifiers.