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‘Lead from the front’

Pamzo challenges Wanyama and Olunga to step up his displays at Afcon

In Summary

• The former Gor Mahia man has also reached out to Japan-based forward Michael Olunga and all players plying their trade abroad to justify their inclusion in the team. 

• He further cautioned the team against underrating neighbours Tanzania.

Harambee Stars' captain Victor Wanyama (L) and Antony Akumu having a chat during a training
Harambee Stars' captain Victor Wanyama (L) and Antony Akumu having a chat during a training
Image: ERIC BARASA

Former Kenyan international and KCB assistant coach Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo has challenged Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama to step up his game and demonstrate superb leadership in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Wanyama has in the past been heavily rebuked for a lukewarm display with the national team but the former defender has urged the England-based midfielder to prove his doubters wrong. Wanyama, who plies his trade with Tottenham Hotspurs is among the dependable foreign-based players in camp who coach Sebastien Migne will be looking to build a formidable team around and Pamzo has provoked him to show his club level displays in the tournament.

The former Gor Mahia man has also reached out to Japan-based forward Michael Olunga and all players plying their trade abroad to justify their inclusion in the team by staging performances which correspond to that at club level.

 

“This is the time we need Wanyama’s experience most. He has to fully turn up in each match for he has been below par and lukewarm in the past. He plays in high-level competitions and leagues and he has to show it in Egypt as well as demonstrate good leadership skills. I also urge Olunga to carry his club form to the tournament and get us goals. All foreign-based players should show a different and exceptional class in Egypt in line with our expectations.”

Pamzo has further cautioned the team against underrating neighbours Tanzania who are deemed as the weakest team in Pool ‘C’. Kenya is placed alongside Senegal and Algeria, where all the energy and focus has been directed towards cornering the two but the experienced coach believes the Tanzania duel is the toughest as they consider Kenya as their peers.

“I have seen that a lot of energy and focus going towards beating Algeria and Senegal which is good but we have to take Tanzania seriously. It’s actually going to be the toughest game for Stars in the pool as they take Kenya to be their peers and a team they can beat just the way we adjudge. We can’t afford to underrate them for they are equal to the task and strong challengers of points in the group.”

The former Tusker coach regretted the absence of South African-based centre half Brian Mandela, who was axed from camp after suffering a knee injury on Monday. He, however, expressed optimism with the rest of defenders who will jostle to fill in his shoes. Migne has four centre-halves to choose his best pair.

“In a tournament, defending is key but it’s unfortunate we lost Mandela whose experience would have brought massive difference at the rear. He plays in a competitive league and the defence line is always organised in the matches I have watched him play. I have faith with the rest of the centre-halves in camp for they will get the job done.”