Kimanzi bullish as Emerging Stars plot Sudan assault


Kimanzi bullish as Emerging Stars plot Sudan assault
Francis Kimanzi instructs Teddy Osok during their Under 23 African Cup of Nations qualifier match against Mauritius at Kasarani stadium in Nairobi on November 14, 2018. Kenya won 5-0. Photo/Kelly Ayodi/Sportpicha/Citizen

In Summary

  • The national under-23 football team head coach Francis Kimanzi believes his charges, the Emerging Stars will sail through to the final round of the under-23 AFCON and the Olympic qualifiers despite the two-goal deficit they suffered in Sudan ahead of Tuesday's return leg at Kasarani Stadium.
  • Kimanzi’s boys were beaten 2-0 in Sudan but as they renew rivalries tomorrow, and speaking during the team’s final training session on Monday at the match venue, Kimanzi is upbeat his boys will overturn the deficit and storm to the next round.

The national under-23 football team head coach Francis Kimanzi believes his charges, the Emerging Stars will sail through to the final round of the under-23 AFCON and the Olympic qualifiers despite the two-goal deficit they suffered in Sudan ahead of Tuesday’s return leg at Kasarani Stadium.

Kimanzi’s boys were beaten 2-0 in Sudan but as they renew rivalries tomorrow, he’s upbeat his boys will overturn the deficit and storm to the next round.

“We need at least one early goal; what is so difficult and at the same time important. If we can get the first and earliest goal then we can run the game from there. Offensively we need to be better than the opponent,” charged the former Harambee Stars coach.

Stand-in skipper Mike Kibwage called on his team mates to adopt an offensive approach when they host the guests  if they are to revive their continental hopes.

“Tomorrow we will be fully offensive so that we get an early goal that will boost our morale for other goals. Our target is to start on a high and get goals as fast as possible like we did against Mauritius. I believe we can do it,” said the KCB centre back.

Kibwage steps in for official captain Joseph Okumu who did not travel back from the United States for the international duty and Kimanzi was not in a mood to entertain questions on the Real Monarch’s defender.

“I think that is a question you have to pose to the federation because my work is to prepare the ones on the ground,” protested the Mathare United tactician.

Emerging Stars forward line has been handed a shot in the arm after Sofapaka forward Pistone Mutamba who was on international duty with Harambee Stars in Ghana at the weekend joined hsi team mates in Monday’s session and Kimanzi is relishing the addition.

“He was already in the team but we made a last minute decision to let him support the senior team in Ghana when we realized Olunga would not be available. We have a pool of talent,” he noted.

Should the Emerging Stars dispatch Sudan they will meet the aggregate winner of Monday afternoon’s clash between Nigeria and Libya, the latter holding a two goal lead, after downing their counterparts 2-0 in the first leg.

The under-23 AFCON finals are penciled for Egypt from November 8- 22 while the Olympics are set for next year from July 24-August 9 in Japan.

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Story By Julius Jumah
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