STARS' CHALLENGE

Huge task for Onyango and Okumu after Mandela’s exit

In Summary

•The coach regretted Mandela's knock describing it as very unfortunate for the team 

•The national team tactician said the final friendly will grant him great opportunity to try out other players and gauge their performance before the Africa Cup of Nations

Harambee Stars Defender Joash Onyango during a training session.
Harambee Stars Defender Joash Onyango during a training session.

Gor Mahia’s Joash Onyango and the USA-based lanky defender Joseph Okumu are likely to start in the centre of defence during upcoming Harambee Stars friendly match against DRC Congo on Saturday in Madrid.

This follows Brian Mandela incident that forced the coach Sébastien Migne to drop him alongside Teddy Akumu, Clifton Miheso and Chris Mbamba on Tuesday.

The coach regretted Mandela knock describing it as very unfortunate for the team considering he has been a very instrumental figure in their plans. “We have been forced to adjust the central defence after Mandela’s knock.  It was quite unfortunate for Mandela and Mbamba who picked injuries just before a tournament of such stature,” he said.

 
 

The coach was speaking after the national team morning training Wednesday at the French Rugby Stadium ahead of their friendly against DR Congo on Saturday. This was the team’s first training after Migne named his final 23-man squad for the continental assignment.

The national team tactician said the final friendly will grant him great opportunity to try out other players and gauge their performance before the Africa Cup of Nations kicks off next week in Cairo.

“I am particularly going to bring out players like China-based Ayub Timbe and Sofapaka’s marksman John Avire in a bid to assess my bench power," he noted. 

The coach was not happy with the team’s performance against Madagascar last week and hopes that they will replicate the same performance against DR Congo.

“We are playing probably one of the best teams in the tournament (DR Congo) and I am expecting much from the boys. I would also like to urge our fans to keep the spirit positive and support the team,” he said.

The Kenyan defence was among the best in the Afcon qualifiers having conceded only one goal under Migne.


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