Kenya’s Harambee Stars will tomorrow (Sunday 5) play host to an AFCON 2017 Qualifier second leg match versus the “Red Devils” of Congo Brazzaville.
With Stars’ dreams of a return to the Nations Cup since 2004 all but gone with the winds – the only motivation left for them is to salvage some pride and put a smile on the faces of their fans who have endured years of starved glory by pulling a great a performance or even serve them a surprise win.
The team has lately come under heavy criticism for laclasture displays, more specifically in their 1-1 draw against Tanzania in an international friendly last week which was generally deemed dull if not outright boring.
Captain Victor Wanyama for the umpteenth time will be called upon duplicate his virtuoso performances at Southampton and defend the national colors, something he’s been accused time and again of not doing.
For Head Coach Stanley, he will be on the chase for maiden triumph after four previous attempts ended in disappointments; rumors of disquiet in his technical bench however doesn’t make his work easier.
Yesterday Soka25east.com reported goalkeepers trainer Razak Siwa was forced out by Okumbi for “incompetence” and replaced by Sunil Shah.
The first stanza of this tie ended 1-1 at Stade Omisport Marien Ngouabi, Owondo on June 14,2015 – Harambee Stars Coach then was Scotsman Bobby Williamson while the Devils were under Frenchman Claude Le Roy – both have since left.
New Coach Pierre Lechanre, speaking to the press in Nairobi singled out Wanyama and pacy left footed winger Paul Were as potential threats to his team – Were scored Kenya’s opener in Owondo ten minutes into the game with Prince Oniangue replying from the spot before half time.
“We know that they have a lot of good players particularly Wanyama who plays for Southermpton and good attackers and wingers like the left footed, so in short we know that this team has a lot of good players.” Pierre said.
Ranked at position 60 globally, 69 places above Kenya, Congo Brazzaville are firm favorites in this – striker Thievy Guivane Bifouma Koulossa is a man the hosts will have to have an extra eye on. The 24 years old is currently on loan with French club Stade de Reims from RCD Espanyol in Spain.
A win for Congo takes their tally to nine and will enhance their chances of clinching group “D” ahead of the last qualifiers in September. The other group matches will see leaders Guinea Bissau (7 points) host Zambia (6 points).
Kenya Probable Line Up:
Boniface Oluoch (GK)
Victor Wanyama (C)