Harambee Stars back to camp to plot on Ethiopia’s downfall
The national football team Harambee Stars reported back to residential camp Monday ahead of this weekend’s African Nation Championship return leg qualifier against Ethiopia’s Walia Antelopes.
Coach Bobby Williamson will have uninterrupted week-long session with the boys as he works on modalities and tactics of caging the Antelopes when the two sides lock horns on Saturday from 4pm at the Nyayo National Stadium.
Stars were 2-0 losers in the first leg match played in Ethiopia, and the 53 year old Scot must work round the clock to ensure that his boys overturn the deficit and romp to the second and final round of the qualifiers where they will meet the aggregate winner between Burundi and Djibouti.
HAMMER AND TONGS
Kenya has never brushed shoulders with the continent’s best in the competition’s finals and will have every reason to go hammer and tongs on the Ethiopians.
On Tuesday, Williamson is expected to lead his charges in an intense morning workout at the Nyayo National Stadium.
The week long training will be unique as the Scot has a lot of work to do in his leaky defense as well as stress on his strikers the need of being ruthless in the face of goal.
He will also have to reconsider his reluctance to field dead ball specialist Ali Abando.
In Ethiopia, Stars squandered a late chance to pull the vital away goal when Kevin Kimani fluffed a penalty awarded. Abondo has had an impressive record from the spot and, ahead of the decisive return leg, the Sot must not throw caution to the wind.
In Ethiopia, centre-back Jackson Saleh and left back Aboud Omar, were dismal performers just like in the their performance in Congo in an African Nations qualifier.
Assistant coach Musa Otieno, who had more than decade long career playing in the same position, will have to do some intense drilling on marking, positioning and tracking back as well as closing on the opponent.
In Congo, Saleh conceded a penalty that led to the Red Devils equalizer, and Otieno was forced to watch in disbelief again, in the technical area as Omar conceded yet another penalty in Bahir Dir and his focus will be to fix the lack of calmness in the defence when under pressure.
In his own admission, the defensive display was never good enough: “We can overturn the result. I have no doubt about that because the opponent was no better than us. The only thing that cost us that match was a series of defensive errors and we shall see how best to improve before we host them for the return match,” Otieno said after the Ethiopian defeat.
Williamson will also have to work on getting a ruthless midfield dynamo who can act as the engine of Stars attack.
Despite fielding a congested midfield in a 4-5-1 formation in Ethiopia, Stars failed to offer enough supply to lanky forward Michael Olunga who was deployed as the lone striker in Bahir.
Olunga’s game has been on upward trajectory with his latest repertoire coming at the weekend when he plundered four goals at the Afraha Stadium as Gor crushed a timid Chemelil Sugar 4-1 and the Geospatial Engineering student will be key to Williamson’s plans.