Mwendwa backs Stars to stop Ethiopia’s Antelopes in Bahir Dar


Mwendwa backs Stars to stop Ethiopia's Antelopes in Bahir Dar
Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga (left) and captain Victor Wanyama celebrates victory against Congo Brazzaville during their 2017 Afcon qualifier match at Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on June 5, 2016. Kenya won 2-1. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

In Summary

  • It is all systems go ahead of the much awaited Group F match of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier pitting Kenya’s Harambee Stars and Ethiopia’s Walya Antelopes this afternoon at the Bahir Dar Stadium, Ethiopia
  • Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has expressed his confidence the journey to the 2019 Cameroon showpiece is inevitable
  • In 2015, Ethiopia snatched a 2-0 win against the Kenyan side in the CHAN qualifiers in the same venue but Captain Victor Wanyama says that history will not count in the Wednesday's match

It is all systems go ahead of the much awaited Group F match of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier pitting Kenya’s Harambee Stars and Ethiopia’s Walya Antelopes this afternoon at the Bahir Dar Stadium, Ethiopia.

With Stars being just four points away from the continental competition after a 14-year drought, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has expressed his confidence the journey to the 2019 Cameroon showpiece is inevitable.

Speaking after attending the team’s last training session at the Bahir Dar stadium on Tuesday; Mwendwa said the team coach Sebastian Migne has assembled can face any challenge comfortably in Africa.

“Once Ayub Timbe is available the matrix is complete, this team can not only qualify for Afcon, but can send Kenya to World Cup. I think we have the best after a long time.

“We are here with the boys to encourage them, and you can feel there is something happening, we will get there,” said the federation boss.

In 2015, Ethiopia snatched a 2-0 win against the Kenyan side in the CHAN qualifiers in the same venue but Captain Victor Wanyama says that history will not count in the Wedneday’s match.

“Definitely not, this will be a different affair altogether. A lot has changed since then in both teams and what is at stake is even bigger. Just like we cannot talk much about the Ghana (In September) victory coming into this match, we cannot reflect on a 2015 loss. Our focus is on the match at hand,” the skipper offered.

Wanyama, who was absent when Stars sunk four-time Afcon champions Ghana on September 8, says the team is enjoying good depth terming it as a key factor to the AFCON return campaign.

“The team won without me, and that’s how it should be. Missing one player does not mean all is lost…” the Tottenham Hotspur midfield ace added.

Kashiwa Reysol (Japan) striker Michael Olunga said the team will not be intimidated by the characteristic mammoth crowd expected to throng the stadium backing their opponents, noting modern football dynamics have gradually reduced the home team advantage.

Harambee Stars head coach Sébastien Migné reacts during their International Friendly match against Equitorial Guinea at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on May 28, 2018. Harambee stars won 1-0. Photo/Oliver Ananda/Sportpicha.

“Of course they (fans) will be here in large numbers, but we will be 11 players versus 11 on the pitch. We will try to avoid mistakes that we have seen in the past and we will be good to go,” he charged.

Head coach Sebastien Migne could not agree more, looking to win his second competitive match in charge of Stars.

“We are prepared psychologically to handle this (playing away). We respect Ethiopia but we don’t fear them,” noted the coach.

Stars are placed 42 places above Ethiopia in the latest Fifa world rankings, and overall, the two neighboring countries have faced off 42 times with Ethiopia winning 18, Kenya 14 while 10 have ended in a stalemate.

The return leg is set for Sunday 14th at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani, Nairobi.

Citizen TV’s Mike Okinyi sourced the material for the report, from Bahir Dar

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