THE WAIT IS OVER: Wanga leads Kenya against Hull City select
FOOTBALL By CLAY MUGANDA IN HULL CITY | February 27th 2017
9:30 pm Kenyan time. That is when the long-awaited match between Kenya's SportPesa AllStars and a Hull City FC select side will kick-off and it will be broadcast live on KTN News and SuperSport 9.
Despite the biting cold in Yorkshire, the Kenyan team is upbeat and has been going through their training sessions without fear or panic.
On Saturday, they were unveiled at KCOM Stadium, the venue of tonight's match during the half-time break of the English Premier League match between Hull City FC and Burnley, which ended in a draw.
They were driven to the stadium after a training session at the University of Hull sports ground. That was their second training session at the university, whose sports facilities are better than those of Kenya's clubs and universities combined.
On Thursday, the team trained at Bishop Burton College grounds, the home of Hull City FC Academy, which also boasts of modern sports facilities.
If AllStars are suffering from culture shock due to the availability of modern sports facilities even at the smallest of the venues, they are taking it all in their stride.
"They have the technique, but they are not so physical," Harun Shakava, who will be a part of AllStars defence force said after watching the premier league tie. He added that he liked their formation. "Everyone has a defined role and plays it well."
Even though the side that AllStars will play against has not been unveiled, probably as a tactic by the hosts to keep the Kenyans guessing, coach Stanley Okumbi has been exuding confidence that his charges will give a good account of themselves.
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Okumbi will rely on the services of Tusker's Allan Wanga, Gor Mahia's Amos Nondi and Ulinzi's John Makwatta to ensure that AllStars do not leave KCOM Stadium without netting a goal, or two, or even three.
The trio make a formidable strike force considering that Wanga was instrumental in Tusker's charge to the KPL title, and Makwatta earned the Golden Boot during the KPL awards.
"They play well, but I believe if we have as much facilities as they do, we can even play better," Wanga said.
In midfield, the soft-spoken Okumbi, who comes across as colourless, will rely on Osborne Monday of Nakumatt and Humphrey Mieno, who was Best Midfielder Nominee during the KPL awards, a title he was beaten to by the Nakumatt midfielder.
It would not be right to think that Okumbi's side is weak, or Hull City's Select side will have a walkover because of the level of football in Kenya.
The training regimes these players have gone through put them in good stead, considering they made the cut from the original 48, who were whittled down to 29 and the cream of 18 rose to the top and that is why they are here.
On Saturday, AllStars were taken to the club's VIP restaurant for lunch, where they mingled with the club's high-paying fans, before they were unveiled to the crowd at halftime.
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