Coach Zico unfazed by Harambee stars defeat in AFCON qualifier

Jun 08, 2011

"It is not over yet." That is simple message from the national football team coach Zedekiah "Zico" Otieno to Harambee Stars' long-suffering fans.

Speaking to the media on arrival from the Southern African nation on Tuesday, Zico maintained that his team still has an outside chance of progressing into the 2012 African Cup of nations despite losing 1-0 to Angola on Sunday.

He praised his team for putting a good fight against formidable opponents in front of a hostile crowd.

“We played a very balanced game against Angola. We had a grip on the proceedings but the referee's decision went against us. I believe we still have an outside chance of securing qualification”, Zico said.

Stars team manager Edward Oduor concurred with Zico, but admitted that they learnt valuable lessons from the encounter.

“Our boys gave a good account of themselves despite the mistreatment we suffered from the Angolans. Next time we will consider sending an advance party to lay the ground for us”, Oduor said.

The team was denied access to training facilities during their first two days in Angola.

There was drama at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi after the four match officials who handled the match arrived on the same flight with the team.

The four, who were on transit to Seychelles, were accosted by angry fans and journalists who sought explanations for their controversial decisions during the match.

Meanwhile, Sports Commission Gordon Oluch has indicated that the Harambee Stars Management Board (HSMB) is seriously considering lodging a formal complaint to Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) over poor officiating during the match.

Oluoch who is a member of HSMB told sportsnewsarena.com that the board will soon meet to chart the next course of action.

“We are not happy about what happened in Angola. The referee made a couple of questionable calls that cost us the match. Disallowing our goal was very cruel”, said Oluoch who was the head of delegation in Angola.

He added that even though the outcome of the match stands for now, they will be pushing for the possibility of a replay.

Oluoch concurred with the technical bench that Stars played well and deserved victory. He regretted the manner in which the Seychelles match officials led by centre referee Eddie Mallet handled the game.

During the match, the first assistant referee raised his flag to rule out what appeared to have been a legitimate goal by Kevin Ochieng’ in the 63rd minute.

Ochieng pounced on a loose ball to tap in a rebound after Angola goalkeeper Carlos Lama parried Dennis Oliech’s pile driver back into play.

Minutes later, the hosts were gifted by the match officials after predatory striker Manucho shoved Boniface Oluoch in goal for Angola to head in the solitary goal.

 

 

 Steven Omondi

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