Ulinzi Stars eye big friendlies for Smouha Confed Cup test

Omar Mbongi of Ulinzi Stars FC celebrates scoring his penalty against Al Hilal during their ...
Omar Mbongi of Ulinzi Stars FC celebrates scoring his penalty against Al Hilal during their CAF Confederation Cup second leg clash at Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani on February 18, 2017. Ulinzi Stars FC won 5-4 on post match penalties. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

Ulinzi Stars FC are shopping for high profile friendlies ahead of their first round CAF Confederations Cup clash against Smouha SC of Egypt.

The soldiers kept their nerve to edge out Al Hilal of Libya 5-4 on post match penalties after their two-legged preliminary round tie ended 1-1 on aggregate.

Ulinzi head coach, Benjamin Nyangweso is keen on ensuring his side are better prepared for the Egyptian test ahead of the first away leg on the weekend of March 10 to 12.

“I’m going to talk to the management so that we can schedule several friendly matches that will help give us the necessary exposure in this kind of tournament.

“Probably they will be teams from Tanzania and Uganda although I will prefer one from an Arabic country,” Nyangweso told Citizen Digital.

Nyangweso admitted that they were under pressure when they came up against Beghazi following their 1-0 loss in the first leg but insisted that they are ready to take on Smouha.

“I’m impressed by my team’s reaction here at home. We knew it was an uphill task but now that we are done with the Libyans I can assure that we are already psyched up for our next task,” the Ulinzi boss added.

He will be out for some measure of revenge after Egyptian giants Zamalek trounced his Ulinzi side 5-0 on aggregate in the 2011 CAF Champions League.

Ulinzi’s captain James Saruni highlighted some key areas they need to improve in order to match the strength of their Egyptian opponents.

“We are good team but if you look at the rate in which we’re spurning scoring chances then there is need to get concerned. It’s something we will have to look into in training because winning matches is about converting chances into goals,” he lamented.

Saruni was the hero in the shoot-out after saving from Abdalla Ashaffi before Esam Alamshi hit the woodwork as Ulinzi advanced to the next round of the second tier continental showpiece.

Samuel Onyango struck an early goal for Ulinzi to level the tie after Al Hilal beat them 1-0 in the first leg in Cairo.

-Report by Mwangi Githinji

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