CAIRO, Egypt, June 20 – Harambee Stars head coach Sebastien Migne has rallied fans to stand behind the team and not put unnecessary pressure as they prepare for their first Africa Cup of Nations appearance in 15 years.
Stars landed in Cairo, Egypt on Tuesday night and had their first session on Wednesday at their base close to the 30th June Stadium where they will play their group matches.
“I am more realistic; We have shown some good things over the last period. We have beaten Madagascar and drawn with DR Congo which honestly we had the possibility to win and we showed a lot of good things. We are on the way to challenge and soon, it might be in two days or next year or next AFCON… soon we will be better,” the tactician stated.
“Fans we need to remember where we were one year ago. We were so far from AFCON and from this kind of team we have now. We are here after 15 years so I want to ask them to be on the team to support us, be passionate and something will happen. I want to continue to dream,”
“The boys have surprised us in 14 months and it’s incredible. However, I am not sure under pressure and with this kind of event what kind of reaction we will have on the pitch. But we will try our best to learn quickly,” the tactician stated.
Migne believes the team has prepared well having spent three weeks in a residential training camp in France and arrived in Cairo on Tuesday night, four days before their opening match against Algeria on Sunday.
The tactician is hopeful that the team can cope with the absence of defender Brian Mandelw who underwent knee surgery on Wednesday in Paris but is expected to arrive in Cairo on Thursday night where he will be with the team to offer moral support.
“It is difficult to play without Brian because he is one of my leaders in not only defense but in the team as well. But I am lucky I have Okumu (Joseph) who showed some good things against DRC. It is always an opportunity for other players to show their quality,”
“I don’t want to dwell too much on Brian being out but we need to prepare to have him earliest in September or October. It was the same against Ghana. Wanyama (Victor) was not there. In the second leg Olunga (Michael) and Brian were not there so we will try to find an option,” the Frenchman said.
His sentiments were shared by skipper Victor Wanyama who stated that Mandela’s absence is a huge blow, but they will fight to get victory dedicated to him.
“Losing Brian was a big blow but there is always someone ready to step up. We have been with him all through and has been an important part of the team giving us motivation and has a lot of positive energy. We will be happy to have him around,” Wanyama noted.
Meanwhile, Migne has complained over the poor internet facilities at the complex as well as the lack of an English sports channel which he says will make their stay at the Tiba Rose Hotel uncomfortable.
“Before it was there but now we have nothing. When you have players with only one session, they need to follow the sports channels to watch the games and with this new generation without Wi-Fi the days are very long,”
“Yes it is a small detail but in the high level every detail matters,” Migne further stated.