Stars out to cross the Mediterranean Knights


The national football team Harambee Stars Belgian coach Paul Put (C), and assistant coaches John ...
(FILE)The national football team Harambee Stars Belgian coach Paul Put (C), and assistant coaches John Kamau (L) and Stanley Okumbi during team's open media session at Utalii Grounds on November 30, 2017. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

Guests in the 2017 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup Libya have an uphill task in their quest to book a spot in the semi finals, as they take on hosts Kenya in their second match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Tuesday.

The North Africans battled to a barren stalemate against Tanzania mainland’s Kilimanjaro Stars on Saturday, their coach Omar Elmaryami blaming a poor surface as a major setback to his charges in the clash.
He thus hopes, that his men will overcome the ‘bumpy surface’ if they are to make a meaningful impact against Harambee Stars.
“We should have won the first match, (against Tanzania) I believe we were the better side although we did not show our maximum potential.
“The pitch was so bumpy, making it difficult for my players to pass accurately, but we now have to try and cope with it for us to beat Kenya. It is a very strong side judging by their result against Rwanda (2-0 win) and being at home. We are however going for maximum points, no one can underestimate us,” the coach charged.
Libya in action against Tanzania at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.PHOTO/COURTESY
Libya in action against Tanzania at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.PHOTO/COURTESY
A loss to the homeboys will put them in must win situations going to the last two matches, while Kenya will be one leg into the semis.
Paul Put, Kenya’s head coach, has kept his cards close to his chest,  going into this clash.
The Belgian was however clear after his debut victory at Kakamega’s Bukhungu Stadium that his players are well charged for the subsequent fixtures.
 
“A win in a tournament opener is very important. It sets the mood for the players and fans especially when you are playing at home.
 
“We are hoping to build on the win going forward, although every match is unique in it’s own way,” Put offered.
The match is set to kickoff at 4:15Pm EAT (+3GMT), preceded by a clash between Tanzania versus CHAN 2018 bound Rwanda at the same venue, at 2:00Pm.
Elsewhere in Kakamega, Ethiopia’s Walya Antelopes will be locking horns with South Sudan, their tournament debuts from 3:00Pm.
Ethiopia’s coach Ashenafi Bekele in an exclusive interview with Citizen Digital at the Kakamega Siaya Guest House  where the team is lodging, termed South Sudan as a bogey side but expressed confidence of silencing them.
“We are out to redeem ourselves after failing to qualify for Chan 2018, even after the playoff against Rwanda.
“We therefore must start off well. South Sudan players are very tall, and quite rough, so we have to be careful to avoid being lost in our game,” said the former Ethiopia skipper.
Harambee Stars Starting XI

Patrick Matasi (GK), Dennis Sikhayi, Jockins Atudo, Musa Mohammed, Wesley Onguso, Patillah Omotto, Duncan Otieno, Whyvonne Issuza, Chrispin Oduor, George Odhiambo, Masud Juma.

Substitutes

Boniface Oluoch, Gabriel Andika, Said Tsuma, Benard Ochieng, Kepha Aswani, Ovella Ochieng, Wellington Ochieng, Charles Momanyi, Vincent Oburu, Isaac Kipyegon, Ernest Wendo, Samuel Onyango.

Libya Starting XI

Ahmed Azzaqah (GK), Ahmed Eltribi, Saed Ajbarah, Tariq Aljamal, Motasem Sabbou, Suhib Shafshuf, Faisal Albadri (C), Muhanad Madeen, Tubal Mohammed, Mohammed Amer, Khalid Almaryami.

Substitutes

Ali Shniena, Abdullah Fathi (GK), Taher Elbarasi, Ali Maetouq, Mohamed Aleyat, Mohamed Amhimmed, Zakaria Alharaish, Muftah Taktak, Saeid Saleh

Tuesday fixtures:
Tanzania vs Rwanda (2Pm, Machakos).
Kenya vs Libya (4:15Pm, Machakos)
Ethiopia vs South Sudan (3Pm, Kakamega).

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Story By Jacob Icia
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