National football team Harambee Stars is not in panic mode despite being held to a barren draw by guest team, the Mediterranean Knights of Libya, in the second Group A match of the ongoing Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Machakos on Tuesday.
Having made a ?ying start to the regional tournament by beating Rwanda 2-0 in the opening match in Kakamega, Kenya travelled to Machakos needing a win to secure pole position in qualifying for the semi-?nals.
But even after dropping the two vital points against the North African side, Stars head coach Paul Put, whose side is sitting at the top of the Group with four points, says he is so far pleased
“It would have been game over if we had won against Libya today (Tuesday). For quali?cation, we still have two games to go, but we are not in panic mode, hopefully we will win our next match and progress to Libya 2 points Tanzania 1 points semi-?nals,” said Put during a post-match interview.
“But I think we played better against Libya than we did in the opening match.
Football wise, the performance of the boys was much better. We had better chances. “I am satis?ed with what I saw because there is some progress in the team. If we can hold onto a lead and don’t concede, then that shows we are on the right track,” he said.
The coach said it was a key game as Libya was very organised and also had quality players. He said even though they did not win, the important thing is that they did not concede. “In the past, we used to play a lot of games and lose either 1-0 or 2-0, but now we can create chances and keep the result. Inshallah, we will qualify after the next two games.”
The Belgian went on to confirm that on-form striker Masoud Juma, who was replaced by Kepha Aswani at half time, is undergoing treatment after suffering an ankle injury. However, he could not comment on the severity of the Kenyan Premier League golden boot winner’s injury. “Honestly I don’t know the extent of Masoud’s injury. We will have to wait for 24 hours to get a full update of his injury from the medical team. We have to be careful and see what is going to happen,” said Put.
Libya coach Omar Elmatyami was quick to heap praise on Stars for their impressive display. “It was a game of two halves. Kenya were better in the ?rst half. They were very fast in counter-attacks and the ?anks, forcing us to change formation in the second half. I am happy we didn’t concede,” said Elmatyami. Kenya faces Zanzibar in their next match on Saturday in Machakos. Harambee Stars coach Paul Put during the match against Libya on Tuesday.