Focus and stay humble, Migne rallies his young guns after Dar draw

Focus and stay humble, Migne rallies his young guns after Dar draw
Harambee Stars coach Sebastian Migne talks to Michael Olunga during evening first training session in Cairo, Egypt on June 19, 2019. The Kenya National team team is preparing ahead of their opening match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations against Algeria on June 23, 2019. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha/Citizen


Jacob Icia in Dar, Tanzania

Harambee Stars head coach Sebastien Migne says he has learnt a lot about his team of exclusively local based players, after registering a barren draw against hosts Tanzania in the first round of African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers.

This was the first match Migne took charge of without foreign based players since taking over from Stanley Okumbi in March 2018, forcing him to field almost an entirely new team.

Addressing journalists after the Sunday evening clash at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, the French tactician said the draw was a fair result considering the changes he had to execute in the team within a short time.

“It was difficult for us before the match; because I started only two players within my group since I took over 15 months ago. After the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) we had a very short time to prepare and I did not have the answer to the quality of most of the players. Tonight I have more answers and I hope I will get more by the time we play the second leg in Nairobi,” Migne said in a post match reflection.

Of the squad that featured on Sunday, only centre-back Joash Onyango and stand-in captain Dennis Odhiambo are the ever present figures in the Frenchman’s squad since he took over the reins of the team slightly over a year ago.

In the same breath, the coach hinted some of the players he has worked with for the first time have earned their places for the all inclusive team he is planning to assemble for the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

“I’m happy for the youthful players; maybe I will integrate some of them in the senior team during the September FIFA window because it is important to open doors to the national team.

“Some players will come in while others will exit,” the coach explained.

Stay humble

According to the coach, playing away and getting a draw should not be a reason for complacency, but an inspiration to give more in the return leg set for Sunday at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi.

“Maybe it was a good result for both teams because we did better in the second half after a difficult first half. I have told my young players to stay humble because it is about ability to keep doing well. I hope we can do that and qualify for the next round,” he expounded.

Migne however acknowledged there is a big gap in terms of quality in the two sides, albeit Tanzania missing just a few first team players that featured in the 2019 AFCON, losing 2-3 to Kenya in a Group C match.

“I can’t compare the team with what I had when we faced Samatta, Msuva and Ulimwengu (Mbwana Samatta, Kennedy Msuva and Thomas Ulimewngu). Its different level, but we  have to build for the future.”

The coach was clear Stars will be keen to attack more in the return match than it was in Dar es Salaam, expressing confidence his charges will be better at home.

The winner of the Sunday match will play Sudan in the final round of qualifiers to the Cameroon 2021 fiesta.

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Story By Jacob Icia
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