Harambee Stars polish up ahead of Tanzania clash

By By Sammy Kitula, in Cairo: Wednesday, June 26th 2019 at 00:10 GMT +3 | Football
 Harambee Stars players train at the Tiba Rosa Plaza on June 24, 2019. Kenya is preparing ahead of the Total Africa Cup of Nations against Tanzania. [Photo/Stafford Ondego]

When Harambee Stars defeated Ghana 1-0 at Kasarani before winding up with a convincing 3-0 victory against Ethiopia in the qualifiers to bag a ticket to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, Kenya were on their path to history.

Head coach Sebastian Migne did a very good job, many said. Now, Harambee Stars are staring at the exit door, which is ajar, waiting for the weakest of pushes.

Migne out? Probably it’s somewhat early for that call. The tactician is still lost for words on how his team fell off the pace in their opening game against Algeria, a performance he described as a poor first-half show given their impressive form in the qualifiers.

Such a switch in a short span of time is hardly telling. Any top coach is aware that fans’ feelings towards them can change in a flash and that lethargic performance somehow justifiably altered how fans identify with Migne and his boys.

Having been a coach, Migne appreciates wholly what goes on in the minds of his players and fans, who keenly follow proceedings through the media, create and disseminate rumours, know who ought to have been included in the team and who should not have made the Cairo trip.

The discrepancy has been a persistent theme, but Migne promises to handle all that and in good time.

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“I chose to remain optimistic in our next match. I will make a few changes in the team. I need to decide who will start and who will come in as a substitute,” said Migne.

Harambee Stars are still defensively susceptible, with endless injury scares and are prone to disintegrate and there, lies the concern of many but Migne.

“I chose to remain optimistic. We still have a lot of players in the team, who can do a good job. We should not worry,” said Migne.

The match against Algeria provoked endless questions of Stars’ mental fortitude, but the Kenyan tactician’s analyses focus on other aspects.

What then would he like to see his side do differently in their next game against Tanzania?

“Fight to the end. It will be like a final. We surely need to make history and win a vital group match. When Kenya defeated Burkina Faso in their final group match in 2004, it was inconsequential,” said Migne.

“We now have a chance of winning in this important match.”

It requires strategic plasticity to do that and the tactician’s fondness for making regular modifications in the team seems it’s all part of his belief.

It's true, most football fans feel disenchanted, but Migne declared he and his players have a duty to bring smiles back on the Kenyans’ faces.

“If we play like we did in the second half, then we will have a good game. Probably we were afraid. It was difficult. We need to fight as a team,” pleaded Migne.

Enough damage has already been done, but to bring back cheerfulness, achieve tranquillity and remain solid, Harambee Stars must stem the bleeding.

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