NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Harambee Stars Under-23 head coach Francis Kimanzi is optimistic the team can overturn their 2-0 deficit when they face Sudan in the return leg of the Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations qualifier in Nairobi on Tuesday.
Waleed Bakhiet scored twice in Khartoum on Wednesday to leave the Emerging Stars with a mountain to climb ahead of the second leg, but Kimanzi believes judging on the quality of the two teams, his young guns have the ability to fire right and progress to the next round.
“We did our best; we don’t think there is need to panic. We have a chance over 90 minutes on Tuesday and looking at the quality of the opponent, if we behave better we can have it ,” Kimanzi said on Friday morning when the team touched down from Khartoum.
His sentiments were echoed by striker John Avire who made his debut in national team colors, saying they have the ability to score all the three goals and progress.
“If we work as a team, there’s nothing that can stop us. We believe that playing at home we will score many goals enough to take us through to the next round. We were unfortunate in the first leg but we can be better,” Avire noted.
Looking back at the first leg, Kimanzi believes the team should have done better. They conceded the first goal after a mix up in defense with keeper Brian Bwire spilling the ball while the second was off a soft penalty.
“It’s a game we believed we were bit unlucky. We gave everything and tried to put things together to ensure we have a safe second leg. We still looked strong even at 2-0 down, we tried to play in a way to be clever and handle the situation,” the tactician offered.
Stars need to win the game by a three goal margin to progress to the next round where a date with either Libya or Nigeria lay in wait. Libya beat Nigeria 2-0 in the first leg played in Tunisia.