Cape Verde wary of Harambee Stars' threat

By alex wafula
Nov 12, 2021
  • Cape Verde players at their training session at the Nyayo National Stadium on Thursday.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Cape Verde coach Rui Aguas.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Harambee Stars players with coach Bobby Williamson(second left).(Photo by Shutterspeed)

Despite being placed a massive 93 places above them in the FIFA rankings, Cape Verde will not be underrating Kenya’s Harambee Stars when they face them in the first leg of the second round 2018 World Cup Qualifier on Friday evening in Nairobi.

The islanders landed in Nairobi on Wednesday night and had their first training session on the match venue late Thursday with coach Rui Aguas maintaining they will be treating the match with utmost seriousness.

“It is going to be a difficult match because we have analyzed Kenya and we know they are very dangerous especially on the forward line. If we are to deal with them then we need to deal with their strikers very well,” said Aguas just before a closed door session with his boys.

The last time these two sides met was in 2003 in the run up to the 2004 African Cup of Nations with Kenya winning both home and away legs by a solitary goal to qualify for the AFCON championship in Tunisia.

However, Aguas says that result will count for nothing over a decade on.

“Things have changed and we will not be thinking about that result. Both teams have changed and this will be totally a new ball game altogether,” the coach said.

Cape Verde beat Libya in friendly

Cape Verde has had good preparations for this match where they played several friendly matches and the coach believes this will help them play the match with utmost ease.

“We played against Libya in our last match and it really gave us a good picture of what we need to do because we really struggled in that match,” Aguas pointed out.

He also opines they will not be approaching the match with their hand brakes on,looking to play their usual game of passing the ball around on the ground.

He also argues both teams have an equal chance and will not be advantaged starting the campaign away from home.

“We need to get a good result away from home to give us an edge in the second leg. But it will be tough, Kenya has very good players like Victor Wanyama who can be able to change and dictate the tempo of the game so there is no way we are taking the match lightly,”said defender Carlos Tavarez.

Origi, Mandela absent from last session

Meanwhile, Harambee Stars remained upbeat of posting good results on Friday evening despite the challenges they have had in preparations.

Arnold Origi and Brian Mandela were absent in the final training session with coach Bobby Williamson saying anyone who hadn’t shown up for the last session in training on Thursday will not be part of the squad.

The coach has also been put aback with the absence of left back Dennis Odhiambo who has failed to recover from a knee injury picked up playing for his league side Thika United.

In his absence, Williamson will look up to Omar Mbongi from Ulinzi Stars who is yet to play for the national team and is just on his first call up and Bandari’s Abdulatiff Omar.

But Williamson is hopeful Kenya will take advantage of playing in front of their home fans and put in a good result.

“It is going to be difficult against Cape Verde. They are a very good team and placed fourth in Africa. We have had challenges with preparations yes, but we ought to go in and put our best. We have a young team and I hope this is going to be a good opportunity for them to express themselves,” Williamson opined.

Stars hope to rise above the negativity in their preparations and pick up a win against Cape Verde with the hope of playing in the group stages of the qualifiers topping their agenda.