Impressive start for Harambee Stars
By Gilbert Wandera In Cairo
Kenyan coach Zedekiah Otieno paid glowing tribute to goalkeeper Francis Ochieng' after his side's 1-0 win over Sudan in the opening match of the Nile Basin tournament on Wednesday.
Otieno said the Ulinzi custodian made all the difference during the victory executed by a virtually inexperienced and youthful Kenyan side.
"He kept us in the game and I am very impressed by his daring saves. It was a good decision to call him up for this tournament and give him a chance to start today," said ‘Zico’ during his post-match interview.
Overall, the coach said most of his young players gave their best and he gave them an 80 percent rating in terms of performance against a vastly experienced Sudanese squad.
He said they followed instructions to the letter, resulting in the 1-0 win.
"Being young and inexperienced most of the players are willing to learn and listen. I told them not to open the game and let the Sudanese come at them and then we would try and score from the counter-attack."
"I knew we were faster on counter-attacks and it worked. Kevin Omondi did well to go into the box with the ball, winning the penalty for us. Everything went according to plan," said Otieno.
Zico, however, said he has still identified some weaknesses in the team, especially in defence where the Kenyan backline gave away too many free-kicks and he would make changes before tomorrow’s match against the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He said the team aims to finish among the top four and after the win against Sudan, he believes his charges already have one leg in the semi-final.
"This win was very important for us. It gives us a lot of confidence as we go into the second match. We will be going for at least a draw because this will put us in the semi-final," he said.
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