The Kenya U23 national team, Emerging Stars, is set for a make or break return leg clash on Tuesday 25 March against Sudan U23 in the 2019 AFCON U23 qualifiers and head coach Francis Kimanzi says his charges will only seize control of the tie with a good start.
Kenya U23 lost 0 – 2 in the first leg in Khartoum on Saturday 23 March and ahead of the clash at MISC, Kasarani, Kimanzi says they can overturn the loss and advance to the final stage of qualifiers.
While the first leg loss could by large be attributed to individual errors, the coach opted not to blame any of his players , but focus on the big picture – the chase for a third round spot.
“We need a good start and an early goal; that will determine a lot. We have an opportunity (of advancing) if we play better but we have to score early and take control of the game from there. The only mistake we made in the first leg was to concede two goals and that is what we want to rectify,” he noted.
Influence the game
Further, Kimanzi stated that the squad will more or less stay the same as it was in Khartoum, though he will have a boost with the availability of striker Pistone Mutamba and winger James Kinyanjui.
“I am not planning to change the squad, I only want to influence the game and it is very straightforward that we have to be very offensive here, to try and create more chances than them and score,” he added.
Michael Kibwage, who skippered Kenya U23 in Khartoum, echoed Kimanzi’s sentiments ahead of the clash, while also stating that it was just a bad day in office, in the first leg.
Turn things around
“The loss in the first leg was just unlucky, and Sudan made good use of their home advantage. We created chances but didn’t use them so we want to turn things around now that we are playing at home.
“We will be very offensive definitely. Our target is to start on a high like we did with Mauritius (in the previous round),” he said.
the team is hoping to get to the tournament in Egypt later this year, which will also be used as the qualification route for the 2020 Olympic Games.