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Zico searching for Stars winning formula

Updated Tuesday, March 22nd 2011 at 00:00 GMT +3
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By Robin Toskin

A working combination of several of Harambee Stars’ upcoming youngsters is the immediate concern for coach Zedekiah Otieno as Kenya’s opponents in Group J of the Africa Nations Cup qualifiers arrive tomorrow for the do-or die clash on Saturday.

Kenya’s situation is such that a wide gap of class and experience exists between two of Stars illustrious players Dennis Oliech and MacDonald Mariga that Otieno must come up with a formula to come up with a potent blend.

Angola’s home-based players reached the finals of the Africa Nations Cup Championship in Khartoum Sudan last month and will form the bulk of the squad to face Stars at Nyayo Stadium.

While Angola have been easing new players into the team, the turnover in the Harambee Stars side has been high prompting Oliech’s comment after the 2-0 loss to South Africa that, "you don’t know who you will be paired with in the next fixture."

And yesterday, coach Otieno kept the tab on his final list and admitted there were so many youngsters knocking at the door of Harambee Stars with their performances in the local league.

"Be that as it may, international football is a different thing . However, it is also important that we get a good combination. You may have very good players but they may not play to everyone’s expectation," Otieno said.

Gor youngster Kevin Omondi has been in scintillating form, so are Collins Okoth (Gor), Paul Were (Tusker), James Situma (Sofapaka), Stephen Waruru (Ulinzi) and Joseph Nyagah (Rangers) among others.

"These are youngsters who are coming through, who you cannot compare with such players with World Cup experience in the Angolan team," Otieno said.

With the exit of Titus Mulama, Robert Mambo, John Muiruri who were a constant feature in Stars midfield, no player has pinned down a jersey for long.

Since the days of such players as Abbas Khamis Magongo, Charles Otieno, Peter "Zimbo" Owade, John Okello "Zangi", Wilberforce Mulamba and others, Harambee Stars has been crying for a playmaker of repute.

Oliech can be a real menace, but the service is always not forthcoming.

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