It's crunch time for Harambee Stars

Jan 05, 2013
  • Harambee Stars players at training session on Thursday for the CHAN return leg against Burundi on Sunday.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

It’s crunch time for Harambee Stars. The national football team will on Sunday face Burundi in match that will determine if Kenya’s prolonged absence from the continental stage will continue.

With their backs on the wall, Stars will have no option other than an outright win in the second leg of the African Nations Championships (Chan) qualifying match at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Burundi holds a slim a 1-0 advantage over Kenya and nothing short of a two-goal margin win will guarantee the team’s progress to the next round where Sudan lies in wait.

But despite the herculean task which the team is facing head coach James Nandwa is confident that his men will conjure a positive result against the visiting team.

“Everything is going according to plan. We held our last training on Saturday and we are now ready to face our opponents”, Nandwa said when naming his staring line up for the match.

Nandwa’s strategy

With Mike Baraza, Wesley Kemboi and Edwin Lavatsa all drafted, Nandwa’s strategy appears to be taking the game to the opposition in aim to overturn the results from Bujumbura.

Although fast raising attacking midfielder Paul Mungai Kiongera has been excluded from the starting lineup, he could yet turn out to be Nandwa’s secret weapon.

At the back, Edwin Wafula, Abdallah Juma, David Owino and David Ochieng have been tasked with responsibility of the last line of defence while Anthony Akumu, Edwin Lavatsa and Francis Kahata will operate from the middle of the pack.

The tried and tested Duncan Ochieng has retained his place between the sticks.

Absent players

The only players that have been ruled out of the encounter are reliable defender James Situma, who picked a knock, and winger Paul Were, who is done with a bout of Malaria.

Stars rear-guard will, however, keep a keen eye on Burundi’s captain and danger man Selemani Ndikumana who can be a real thorn in the flesh of opposing defenders.

On paper Stars will start as firm favourites given that they will be playing at home while Burundi will be seeking to protect their slim advantage.

Team line-ups Kenya: Duncan Ochieng (captain), Edwin Wafula, David Owino, David Ochieng', Osborne Monday, Athony Akumu, Edwin Lavasta, Clifton Miheso, Mike Baraza and Wesley Kemboi. Burundi: Janvier Ndikumana, Waso Ramadhani, Saidi Ndikumana, Hassan Hazikimana, David Habarugira, Faty Papy, Dugary Ndabashinze, Henry Mbazumutina, Kassim Bizimana, Selemani Ndikumana (Captain) Claude Nahimana.


 Nesta Kizito

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