Will Star's Shine?
WHETHER Harambee Stars can hack it against Togo before their own home
fans is the question on every Kenyan’s lips as the two teams fight it
out in the African Cup of Nations qualifier away in Lome. Stars need
only a draw to reach the last stages of the race for next year’s
tournament in South Africa. Having already conceded that reaching the
World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014 is beyond them following the single
point garnered in the opening two encounters, Francis Kimanzi’s charges
realistic hopes of qualify for a first international tourney in eight
years remain in the biennial African showpiece.
Speaking to a local
television station prior to their departure for Lome, Stars skipper
Dennis Oliech aptly captured the reality of the situation for Kenya. “We
are unlikely to qualify for the World Cup but we have a very good
opportunity of reaching the African Cup of Nations and that is our focus
in order to give our fans something to cheer about,” said the
27-year-old AJ Auxerre striker.
Kenya’s problem as exhibited over the
last 17 days has been scoring goals but that will not be much of a
concern for Kimanzi’s side, who need only to avoid defeat tomorrow to
knock Togo out. The defence which held firm against Malawi then kept
Namibia out for 80 minutes will have to be on alert to keep the
marauding Togo forwards at bay.
Kimanzi will likely resort to a more
defensive 5-3-1-1 system to counter what is expected to a be an
attacking onslaught from the Sparrow Hawks. The good news for Stars is
that England-based goal getter Emmanuel Adebayor is doubtful for the
match, having missed his country’s last two matches this month.
few opportunities that will come their way will have to be taken by
Oliech and company if they are to have any chance of proceeding into the
final stages of these qualifiers and give Kimanzi and his technical
staff a much needed breathing space before the World Cup qualifiers
resume next year. Kenya lead the two legged match 2-1, thanks to their
victory in Nairobi back in March.