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Zico dedicates Harambee Stars win to suspended Kimanzi

Last updated 9 months ago | By Rodgers Eshitemi

Harambee Stars training assistant coach Zedekiah Otieno (right) at Moi International sports centre, Kasarani ahead of second 2021 Africa Nations Cup Qualifiers Group G match against Sparrow Hawks of Togo. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Harambee Stars assistant coach Zedekiah Zico Otieno has dedicated the national team’s 2-1 win over Sudan in the on-going Cecafa Senior Challenge in Kampala, Uganda to their suspended head coach Francis Kimanzi.

Otieno was in the dug-out as Hassan Abdallah came off the bench to inspire the defending champions to victory against the Sudanese side and book a place in the semifinals with a game to spare.

Kimanzi was handed a two-match ban by the tournament’s organising committee allegedly for unsporting behaviour, moments before Kenya defeated Tanzania 1-0 in Group B, on Sunday.

But Otieno believes Kimanzi’s absence in the stadium will not affect their target of topping the group and consequently retain the regional trophy.

Harambee Stars clash with Zanzibar in their final preliminary round tie on Sunday as Tanzania take on Sudan.

“We did all this against Sudan as a present for our head coach (Francis Kimanzi), who was suspended unfairly. As a team, we were not pleased with the punishment he has been subjected to because he did nothing on that day,” said Otieno during the post-match press conference at Lugogo Stadium.

“We came here with a mission to retain the title. We have qualified for the semis and I think we are still on course to achieving that target. Our focus right now is on winning the Zanzibar game and top the group.”

Asked if he is pleased with his players’ performance so far and what their chances of defending the title are, the KCB coach said:

“I think we have a young team. We are trying to look for players who can come in and help the senior team when it comes to AFCON qualification.”

“Playing in a tournament like this, every team improves with each game. But it is all about planning.”

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