Wanyama eager to guide Stars to victory

By Rodgers Eshitemi: Sunday, October 13th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Harambee Stars' Captain Victor Wanyama training at Kasarani Stadium. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi is looking forward to give new players a chance when the national team lock horns with the Mambas of Mozambique today at Kasarani Stadium while Victor Wanyama is keen to capatin the side to victory.

Both Kimanzi and his Mozambican counterpart Luis Goncalves will be using the fixture to test various players and combinations as they continue with their rebuilding processes ahead of next month’s 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers.

While Kenya begin their qualifying campaign with a tricky away match against Egypt in Cairo, on November 11, Mozambique will be hosting Rwanda in Maputo on November 14.

Harambee Stars will then entertain the Sparrowhawks of Togo at Kasarani on November 19 as the Mambas travel to Cape Verde.

Though this will be the fifth meeting between the two sides with Kenya registering two wins (2-1 and 1-0) and a draw (1-1), it will be the second fixture for both coaches since their appointment in August. Kimanzi succeeded his immediate former boss Sebastian Migne as the Portuguese replaced Victor Matine.

But having made a number of changes to the squad that drew 1-1 with Uganda in last month’s friendly at Kasarani, Kimanzi is confident of chalking up his first win since his recent re-appointment.

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The Dutch-trained coach has been boosted by the availability of Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspurs), Joseph Okumu (IF Elfsborg, Sweden) and the return of Zesco United talisman Jesse Were from injury.

He has also recalled Zambian based trio of goalkeeper Ian Otieno, defender Harun Shakava and midfielder Anthony Akumu, while Tusker defender Hillary Wandera and Ulinzi goalkeeper are in line of their senior team debut.

“We have some players who missed the first test match but they will be joining us tomorrow (Sunday) including our captain.

“So, I believe with the inclusion of the new faces for this second test match against Mozambique we could get something different,” said Kimanzi.

“Of course, it will be a difficult game, but we have a strong depth in terms of the players who will be waiting to get their time within the run of the game.”

Wanyama is also optimistic of guiding the national team to victory.

“We want to win. We have worked hard and hopefully come tomorrow we can give Kenyans what they deserve-which is a win. So, hopefully tomorrow we will fight for that,” said Wanyama.

But for Mozambique coach Luis Goncalves, who guided the Mambas to a 3-0 aggregate win over Mauritius in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers played last month, today’s fixture will help his side prepare well for the Amavubi match.

“We want to use this match to prepare the next two competitive games against Rwanda and Cape Verde. Kenya is an ideal team for us because they have same similarities with Rwanda. We also need to use this match to consolidate our team and continue growing. We have had more time together as a team this time and I believe we will play better,” Goncalves was quoted saying.

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