Okumbi: Stars will not sit back against Cranes, Zambia

Harambee Stars first coach, Stanley Okumbi, during training for the 2017 Afcon qualifier against Congo at ...
Harambee Stars first coach, Stanley Okumbi, during training for the 2017 Afcon qualifier against Congo at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani on June 05, 2016. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

Harambee Stars first coach, Stanley Okumbi, has assured the team will not sit back when they take on neighbours Uganda Cranes and Zambia’s Chipololo despite their elimination from the Gabon 2017 African Cup of Nation (Afcon) finals.

Stars will lock horns with Uganda on next Tuesday at Nelson Mandela National Stadium in Nambole before facing the 2012 Afcon champions on September 2 in their final qualifier of their botched campaign to make the next continental showpiece.

Okumbi is targeting a rise in the Coca-Cola Fifa rankings as motivation to do well against their opponents to end a wretched campaign on a high.

“It is a fact that we are not fighting for a slot in the next year’s continental competition. However, that does not mean that we will lie back. I have spoken to my players and we shall work upon improving on our results in order to soar in the rankings,” the tactician told Citizen Digital.

Okumbi expects all invited players to report to camp at Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani training camp immediately after this weekend’s GOtv Shield round of 16 fixtures.

“At the moment we have just five players in as the rest took a break to work with their club,” the former Mathare United coach added.

“The team will depart to Uganda on Monday morning and will leave there on Wednesday, a day after the clash. They will then immediately leave to Lusaka for Afcon qualifier against Zambia,” federation communications boss, Barry Otieno, outlined.

The last time the two arch rivals met was in the Cecafa senior challenge cup last year in Ethiopia with Kenya winning the game 2-0.

Since 1926 when the two countries first met, Uganda has had the lion’s share of victories (32) against Kenya’s 22 with 21 draws.

Uganda Cranes will qualify for the 2017 Afcon finals should they beat minnows Comoros Island at home in their last Pool D fixture based on their higher ranking if group leaders, Burkina Faso whom they are tied on 10 points finish above them by beating Botswana.


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Story By Edward Mokuah
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