Kimanzi regrets Kenya’s extinguished Olympic dream


Kimanzi regrets Kenya’s extinguished Olympic dream
Emerging Stars coach 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

Kenya’s coach Francis Kimanzi made no attempt to conceal the shortcomings of his Emerging Stars team after their dour 0-0 draw at home against Sudan, which saw them fall short of their dreams of qualifying for the AFCON U-23 Championships and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

A dejected Kimanzi, speaking to journalists after the end of the game lamented his side’s poor showing in Khartoum in the first leg and the lack of clinical finishing at home as the reason behind their disappointing exit.

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg, Kenya’s task seemed almost insurmountable and despite wave after wave of attack, they were unable to find a way through Sudan’s resolute defence.

“We had very few chances away but today, we had a lot of chances to knock it in the net. We have to accept the result. It’s over,” he cried.

“To open up a game, you need a goal. I believe we had opportunities to score in the first half but we were a bit unlucky.”

In a fast paced opening period, Kenya could have gone ahead through Ovella Ochieng and Johnstone Otieno but lack of composure in front of goal ultimately cost them the game. The former especially, was guilty of squandering a gilt edged opportunity in the opening period of the game that would have given the Emerging Stars a glimmer of hope and allowed them to pile pressure on the Sudan team.

Kimanzi pointed to his side’s lack of experience as being behind their poor finishing and their inability to find the breakthrough.

“You are talking about young players getting together. Sometimes I felt they were too much in a hurry,” he observed. “Sometimes, they are not very composed in front of goal.”

He however remained upbeat about the future of the team insisting that the squad contained a number of special players that needed more time together and urged the federation to organize some test matches for them.

Report by Allen Mwazani

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