We will give a good account of ourselves, promises Okumbi

By alex wafula
Mar 26, 2021
  • Stanley Okumbi, the Harambee Stars coach has promised a better performance after the team lost 0-2 to Guinea Bissau on Wednesday. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Victor Wanyama admitted Harambee stars have a steep hill to scale in their dreams to qualify for AFCON finals in Gabon. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Kenya’s last few drops of hope of making it to the 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon will heavily rely on the result the side posts in the return leg qualifier against Guinea Bissau on Sunday evening.

Harambee Stars lost to the West Africans in the first leg last Wednesday to further dampen the hopes, but a drop in points on Sunday will all but kill the dream.

With these far and in between hopes, coach Stanley Okumbi has promised the team will give a good show and pick up all points at home. Okumbi was guilty of a few questionable decisions on fielding in the first leg, but he has promised changes in the return leg.

Defender David ‘Calabar’ Owino will be suspended for the match after picking two yellow cards and Okumbi has called in Posta Rangers defender Jockins Atudo to fill the void. Paul Were will also be available and has trained with the rest of the squad after missing the first leg due to passport issues.

“I am glad to be back with the team and tomorrow, the focus will be on getting three points. We have a very slim chance to make it to AFCON but we have to make sure we put effort and see how it goes,” Were told Sports News Arena.

The former AFC Leopards and Tusker FC winger who now plies his trade with FC Kalloni in Greece is expected to start the match, among the raft of changes Okumbi is expected to make. Also set to pave way is Kariobangi Sharks midfielder Patillah Omotto whose performance in Bissau left a lot to be desired.

“We want to play a beautiful game tomorrow and pick a good result. It is disappointing that we couldn’t do well in the first leg but we will strive to get better results at home. They are not an easy opponent because they will come here looking for a win as well so we shouldn’t take them lightly,” the tactician added.

Kenya's AFCON deam extinguished?

Skipper Victor Wanyama was only short of admitting Stars’ AFCON dream was all but extinguished but was quick to note the team will play their hearts out till the last match.

“It is now tough, we have to admit, but we have to keep working. We need to give our best and see how it goes. Now our fate depends on what happens in the other match but we need to perform well to keep hope,” the Southampton FC midfielder noted.

His words were echoed by goalkeeper Arnold Origi who said; “We have been criticized a lot and we welcome that. Anyone who criticizes you wishes you well and I believe it is so with our fans. We did not do well in Bissau but this is our turn to bounce back,” the Norway based shot stopper said.

Atudo is expected to draft in straight to the starting team, partnering his former Tusker FC team mate Brian Mandela in defense. Anthony Akumu who came on as a substitute in Bissau will start this time round, Omotto going off.

A Kenyan victory on Sunday will see them climb to four points and the most realistic scenario of an AFCON dream remaining alive is if Congo and Zambia draw again in Brazzaville. Then, the gap between the top two and bottom two will be two points and with two games remaining, it will be anybody’s game.

Probable line up: Arnold Origi, James Situma, Brian Mandela, Jockins Atudo, Dennis Odhiambo, Teddy Akumu, Victor Wanyama, Johannah Omollo, Paul Were, Clifton Miheso, Michael Olunga.