• Harambee stars can shock Uganda Cranes:Mariga

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Oct 05, 2011-

Midfield Marshall Macdonald Mariga is confident Harambee Stars can spring a surprise in the African Nations Cup Qualifier against Uganda Cranes in Kampala.

The odds are heavily stacked against the Stars as they prepare for Saturday’s encounter at the intimidating 45,000-seater Namboole Stadium. But the Spanish based midfielder has no doubts in his mind that Kenya can pull off a win in Kampala and leave the rest to nature.

“Of course the group is delicately balanced,"he said.

"Uganda, Angola and Kenya all have a chance of qualifying directly or as one of the two best runners up. We need to beat Uganda at home, then we can dare dream thereafter", added Mariga.

The 24 year old , and his younger sibling Victor Mugubi Wanyama accompanied by Norway based custodian Arnold Origi linked up with the rest of the squad in Mumias on Wednesday afternoon to give head coach Zedekiah "Zico" Otieno a full house ahead of the team's departure on Friday.  

Real Soceidad player, who scored a cracking last minute goal against Angola in June, is expected to play a pivotal role on his return after he was forced to sit out the last two qualifiers due to suspension and injury.

The former Helsinborgs and Parma midfielder also added that Uganda could yet come to regret their chest thumping. “We are completely focused and not thinking about what they have to say.We are in line to surprise a few people who have written us off", said Mariga.

The cranes camp on the other hand was boosted by the arrival of captain Ibrahim Sekagya and left winger David Obua on tuesday. According to ugandasports.org only three players-goal keeper Abel Dhaira, defensive midfielder Nestroy Kizito and striker Brian Umony had not joined the squad,with Bobby Williamson looking to have the full team for wednesday's closed door training session.    

Meanwhile,Only 2,000 tickets will be available for Kenyan fans wishing to watch Saturday's Africa Cup of Nations match between Harambee Stars and the Uganda Cranes in Kampala.

The Federation of Uganda Football Association's ,FUFA agent in Kenya Francis Gaitho,said the Ugandan body will dispatch only 2,000 tickets on Thursday to Nairobi.

Initially, Fufa had indicated that 5,000 tickets would be available to the visiting fans but following a ticket scandal that has been exposed in the Ugandan capital, many Kenyan fans stand to miss out on live action at the match venue.

Gaitho revealed that over 10 corporate/individuals had shown interest in taking fans to Uganda. The rest of the tickets will be sold at a first come, first serve basis at Ticket Masters outlets, starting Friday morning at 6am. Only a maximum of 2 tickets per person will be sold.

Kampala's Namboole Stadium has a capacity of 45,000.


Nesta Kizito 

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