Stars coach Okumbi aiming for nothing short of victory against DR Congo
Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi has warned his players not underrate the importance of Tuesday’s friendly match against the Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinshasha.
The Stars, who are placed 91 on the Fifa rankings, will be aiming to move up the grid when they face Congo who are placed 51.
And Okumbi, who will be missing the services of captain and midfield powerhouse, Victor Wanyama, wants his lads to go out and show character.
“These friendlies are important whether you have qualified for the Afcon or not. There are several teams which didn’t qualify and will be active so we also have to go there and do our work. The training has been good and I’m pleased with the boys,” he said.
The team had a light workout at the Kasarani Stadium on Sunday in what was their final training before jetting out on Monday at noon aboard a Kenya Airways flight.
In Wanyama’s absence, Zesco United’s reliable centre-half David ‘Calabar’ Owino could be handed the arm-band but Okumbi gave a measured response to this question.
“So many players (could captain the team), but it will depend on whom I’ll pick in the starting eleven,” he said.
Owino’s stock and game has burgeoned in the last two years and being one of the senior and most experienced players in the squad, he’s a strong candidate alongside his defensive partner, Maritzburg player, Brian ‘Niang’ Mandela.
Owino has been joined in camp by his club mates Anthony ‘Teddy’ Akumu and Jesse Were. Other foreign-based players in the squad are Mandela, winger Paul Were (Acharmaikos, Greece), David Ochieng (New York Cosmos) and Rama Salim (MFK Topvar Topoľčany, Slovakia), who is making a return after a long stint in the cold.
Roving left-back Aboud Omar (PFC Slavia Sofia, Bulgaria), Ismael Gonzalez (Las Palmas, Spain) and IF Djurgarden striker Michael Olunga are expected to link up with the team in Kinshasa ahead of the match.