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No love lost as Harambee Stars host Uganda Cranes

FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | September 8th 2019 | 2 min read
Head Coach Francis Kimanzi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

It may be a friendly match, but there will be no love lost when Kenya’s Harambee Stars face Uganda Cranes at Kasarani Stadium today.

The 4pm tie will rekindle a long-time rivalry that dates back to 1926 when they drew 1-1 in a Gosage Cup (now the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup) match.

Since then, the two rivals have met 76 times with 107th ranked Stars (27 places behind Uganda)  securing 22 wins and 22 draws against Cranes’ 32 victories.

The last time they met was in 2017 in a friendly match in Machakos, which ended 1-1.

Save for using the match to test various players and combinations ahead of the upcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers in November, the bragging rights will be at stake for both teams.

Cranes will also use the fixture as part of their preparation for the two-legged 2020 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers against Burundi this month.

This will be the first international match for the two teams after registering mixed results at the 2019 Afcon finals in Egypt.

With both coaches Francis Kimanzi (Kenya) and Abdallah Mubiru (Uganda) on a rebuilding process, they will be eager to start their tenures on a winning note.

Kimanzi will miss a number of players due to various reasons. Bandari trio of Collins Agade, Brian Otieno and Amai Atariza, Tusker’s Boniface Muchiri and Hillary Wandera, Johnstone Omurwa (Wazito), Samuel Olwande (Kariobangi Sharks), Cliff Nyakeya (FC Masr) and Lawrence Juma (Gor Mahia) are all likely to make their senior team debut today.

“This is an opportunity for players who never got a chance before to show what they can offer.

“It’s a new discovery and you never know; they might surprise us. I would really love to see what they can do,” Kimanzi said

“Their (Harambee Stars) performance has been good in recent times. We are likewise, performing better. It is a high profile friendly match and I am looking forward to it,” said Mubiru.

“They (Kenya) have a good team. Of course, we respect them but we can’t fear.”

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