Olympics: Emerging Stars seek to overturn first-leg loss

By Gilbert Wandera: Tuesday, March 26th 2019 at 01:00 GMT +3 | Football
Emerging Stars at Kasarani yesterday ahead of their Olympics qualifier against Sudan today. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The national under-23 team is confident of overturning a 2-0 deficit against Sudan in today’s return match of the Olympic qualifier at Kasarani.

Football Kenya Federation announced yesterday there will be no gate charges for the match in a bid to woo many fans to turn up.

Team captain Michael Kibwage said scoring early goals will be key in helping the side progress.

“We have the home-ground advantage which we must make use of to score early goals. We have also corrected our mistakes in the first leg and remain optimistic to get positive results,” he said.

The Kenyan side have to score at least three goals to overturn the first leg loss registered last week if they are to remain in the hunt for a place in next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Apart from that, there is also an opportunity to feature in this year’s All Africa games in Morocco.

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Coach Francis Kimanzi said his side will adopt a more offensive approach while being careful not to concede at home.

“We are in a precarious situation and it calls for us not to panic. Our strategy is to adopt a more offensive approach which should give us early goals to get back into the match,” he said. Kimanzi has added to his squad offensive midfielder James Kinyanjui in his bid to get positive results.

The Mathare United midfielder has been impressive for his club and is a great addition to a side under pressure to get goals.

Kenya will need to be tight at the back to avoid gifting the Sudanese an away goal. Sudan have plenty of advantage going into this match as they can afford to sit back and play for a barren draw.

It is something coach Zradvko Logarusic is capable of pulling off given his past experience on the local league.

The Croat is well aware of the mentality of most Kenyan players having handled Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards in the past and hopes to use this knowledge to his advantage.

Waleed Bakhiet the scorer of the two goals in the first leg is a man the Kenyan backline must watch out.

Bakhiet has been impressive for his club Al-Hilal in the Caf Champions league and seems to have carried his form to the junior national team.