NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 25 – Ahead of the first leg of the 2020 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier against Tanzania at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Harambee Stars head coach Sebastien Migne is faced with a headache.
The pre-season transfer window has left his CHAN team in tatters with several key positions left vacant. Faruk Shikalo moved to the Tanzanian Premier League after signing with Yanga while midfielder Francis Kahata moved to cross-town rivals Yanga.
Striker John Avire, by the coach’s own admission is AWOL while winger Paul Were might not be available as he is trying to work on a move out of the country.
His biggest headache is the goalkeeping and striking departments as he had made up his mind that Shikalo would be his starter between the sticks while Avire who earned lots of praise from his performance at the Cup of Nations was expected to lead the line in attack.
“Avire, I don’t know where he is maybe you can tell me. If you have any news you can tell me,” the tactician stated on the absence of Avire.
The Sofapaka forward had been at the centre of a transfer saga that left the Football Kenya Federation Chief Executive Officer Robert Muthomi as a casualty after he stepped aside following his implication in an alleged foiled transfer of the forward to an unnamed club in Egypt.
In his absence now, Migne has to look on Piston Mutamba, Nicholas Kipkurui and last season’s Kenyan Premier League top scorer for solutions though he says they lack in experience at the high level.
“It’s difficult like when we lost Faruk. We need to find an option but now I don’t have an answer. I know Piston but for Kip and Enosh, I don’t know them at this kind of level. It is another step for them but we will see,”
“Of course we have lost a lot of mature players for this level. It will be difficult but it will be a good opportunity for some players to show me their qualities. We will play with players without huge experience,”
“It will be a big difference between us and Tanzania. Except Dennis (Odhiambo) and Philemon (Odhiambo) we don’t have many players who played at AFCON. For them, they have seven or eight players who played,” the tactician further stated.
His goalkeeping department also has Migne worried as he is left with John Oyemba who didn’t have much of playing time at Kariobangi Sharks last season, Ulinzi Stars skipper James Saruni and Bandari’s second choice from last season Mike Wanyika who he called up early this week.
The tactician has admitted that there is a scarcity of good goalkeepers in the country but believes with the investment in the FKF Centre of Excellence, the problem can be solved in the next few years.
“We don’t have lots of talented keepers and that’s the reality. Even Matasi (Patrick) I would like to put pressure on him, but as at now he is the best we have. We need to think about the improvement and development for this department in the team from the youth. We need to work hard and try build some strong keepers,”
The tactician will now have a headache of choosing who to start against Tanzania on Sunday between the three uncapped shot stoppers.