MIGNE: Difficult to play a game of this magnitude with inexperienced players

Harambee Stars will begin their quest to qualify for next year’s CHAN championship this coming weekend with the first-leg of their opening round qualifier against Tanzania, and head coach Sebastien Migne is hoping his group of “inexperienced” players will come good in this regional derby.

Stars are set to take on Taifa Stars, on Sunday 28 June in Dar Es Salaam with the return fixture set for August 4, without some of the high profile and experienced players that featured for the country at this year’s Nations Cup tournament in Egypt.

Only local based

The continental showpiece, which is heading for its 6th edition, is only intended for players who feature in their respective domestic leagues and the current transfer window in the country has deprived Migne from calling on the services of some of the players who were at the AFCON.

The French coach had named nine local based players in his final list for the AFCON and four out of the nine are not in contention for the latest international assignment, three because of their moves abroad.

Farouk Sikhalo, Francis Kahata and Paul Were are no longer plying their trades in the country while a contractual saga involving John Avire, his club Sofapaka and disgraced FKF CEO Robert Muthomi, has denied the forward, who made two appearances for Kenya in Egypt, a chance to add to his tally.

Sydney Lokale (L), Michael Kibwage (R) and Teddy Osok (C) contest for the ball in one of Stars’ training sessions this week (PIC: FKF)

The four losses have been a big blow to Migne, who acknowledged as much when he addressed journalists on Thursday at the MISC Kasarani in Stars’ final training session before leaving for Dar Es Salaam.

“I have a totally different team from the one I had in Egypt. I have lost some of the senior players due to the transfer market. It makes the situation a bit difficult because the team is less experienced but I believe we are capable of achieving something.

“It is also a welcome opportunity that will give the young and inexperienced players a chance to showcase what they can do and probably force their way into being regulars for the senior team.

Big game

“The game against Tanzania is a big game, a derby, one that will ask more of these players. The lack of experience we will compensate with team spirit. So I am waiting for a good answer on the pitch from my players.”

In comparison, Tanzania, who were in the same AFCON group as Kenya, have named 10 players from their Nations Cup sojourn to their provisional squad for the qualifier and on paper look poised to cause an upset as they look to revenge their 3-2 loss to Kenya in Egypt.

Stars’ final squad that will travel to Tanzania will be named on Friday.

Below is the provisional squad with the highlighted names being those of the players that made it to Egypt for Kenya’s 6th AFCON appearance;

Goalkeepers

John Oyemba (Kariobangi Sharks), James Saruni (Ulinzi Stars), Michael Wanyika (Bandari)

Defenders

Philemon Otieno (Gor Mahia), Yusuf Mainge (AFC Leopards), Joash Onyango (Gor Mahia), Bernard Ochieng (Wazito), Mike Kibwage (KCB), Andrew Juma (Mathare United), David Owino (Mathare United)

Midfielders

Dennis Odhiambo (Sofapaka), Teddy Osok (Wazito), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia), Duke Abuya (Kariobangi Sharks), Patillah Omoto (Kariobangi Sharks), Samuel Onyango (Gor Mahia), Roy Okal (Mathare United), Whyvone Isuza (AFC Leopards), Abdalla Hassan (Bandari), Ibrahim Shambi (Ulinzi Stars)

Forwards

Musa Masika (Wazito), Nicholas Kipkirui (Gor Mahia), Sydney Lokale (Kariobangi Sharks), Piston Mutamba (Wazito), Enosh Ochieng (Ulinzi Stars), Derrick Otanga (Wazito)