Shaky Stars to face off with Zambia’s Chipolopolo in friendly


Harambee Stars players celebrate Eric Johanna's goal against Mozambique during their International friendly match at ...
Harambee Stars players celebrate Eric Johanna's goal against Mozambique during their International friendly match at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on November 12, 2016. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

The national football team Harambee Stars will play Zambia’s Chipolopolo in an international friendly match set for November 14.

Football Kenya Federation said on Monday that the tie will be staged in Kenya, at a venue yet to be confirmed.

But with the Nyayo National Stadium now closed for renovation, either the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos or the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani is likely to host the tie.

The move to rope in Zambia came after Stars earlier planned friendly with Rwanda on the same date failed to materialise, as the Amavubi are set to face off with Ethiopia’s Walya Antelopes in a play-off for a slot in next year’s CHAN finals.

The play off has been occasioned by Egypt’s failure to take up its slot in the second–tier continental championship which takes place in Morocco early next year.

“In light of the aforementioned, Harambee Stars will not be able to play Rwanda and will now play Zambia instead, in Kenya, on November 14, 2017 at a venue to be confirmed,” FKF’s Communications and Public Relations Manager, Barry Otieno, said.

Otieno added that the federation has been in talks with  countries such as Gabon and Tunisia but only Zambia has confirmed their availability.

“It’s true that the federation has been in talks with a couple of nations to replace Rwanda in the friendly but they have not confirmed only Zambia are ready to face us,” said Otieno.

Otieno is however optimistic that Stars will find back their swagger and return to winning ways.

“This will be a very crucial match for Stars, keeping in mind that the team is still struggling to settle in a better position as far as FIFA rankings is concerned and that is a challenge for them to secure a win.

“Zambia is a very tough team, they have won the African Cup of Nations so it is a nice time for the boys to showcase their talents and to learn more from the Chipilopolo,” added Otieno.

Kenya has faced Zambia before in the Africa Cup of Nations qualification in 2015 where Stars lost 2-1 at home before earning a 1-1 draw away in Zambia.

 

Harambee Stars coach Starnley Okumbi reacts against Malawi during their International Friendly match at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on April 18, 2017. The match ended 0-0. Photo/Oliver Ananda/www.sportpicha.com
Harambee Stars coach Starnley Okumbi reacts against Malawi during their International Friendly match at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on April 18, 2017. The match ended 0-0. Photo/Sportpicha.

Meanwhile, Stars coach Stanley Okumbi is expected to announce the squad that will report to camp to prepare for the friendly .Several foreign based players led by skipper Victor Wanyama are expected to honour the call-up.

The Stars ranking has plummeted in the recent past, dropping to position 102,while the Chipolopolo are placed 77 in the Fifa grid.The Stars recently posted poor results in their friendly matches with Asian nations; losing  2-1 to Iraq before falling 1-0 to Thailand in their second match.

Additional reporting by Geoffrey Mwamburi

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