Kenya coach Francis Kimanzi believes his charges can douse Malawi "Flames" in Saturday's 2014 World Cup qualifying match at Moi International Sports Centre (MISC), Kasarani. Kimanzi, who watched his opponents play Tanzania in a build-up match that ended in a goaless draw last weekend in Dar es Salaam, is confident that his side can achieve a a posotive result should they play according to the game plan. The former Sofapaka coach will welcome returning captain and striker Dennis Oliech to the side was speaking to Cafonline.com ahead of the encounter.
How is your team selection shaping up for the weekend match?
I will definitely have to do without midfielder Macdonald Mariga and striker Allan Wanga both nursing knee injuries. I expect to have Wanga back for the Namibia match in Windhoek (on June 9) but Mariga will not be available. On a positive note, striker and captain Dennis Oliech is back and will lead out the team on Saturday.
It is always good for any coach in the world to have your top marksman fit and ready to play. Oliech is a leader and one who scores vital goals and we have seen that before. We need goals on Saturday and Oliech's decision to make a comeback is very positive in our quest to do well in the qualifiers. I can't talk of my game plan now but all I have done is asked my charges to be wary of the threats posed by Malawi.
How much will it be a factor that you face Malawi without playing any friendly game?
I don't think it will influence my plans because this team has played together on several occasions and they know each other well. Of course it is a requirement to measure your side with well drilled teams ahead of such crucial qualifiers but it was not possible for us. We don't need to cry now because we don't have enough time left for friendly matches. We need to remain focused and prepare well for the match. We have a good team that can deliver success to the country in the qualifiers and that is my focus for now.
After watching Malawi draw against Tanzania in Dar es Salaam, what kind of opposition are you anticipating on Saturday?
Malawi has good players and it is also a good side, but like any other team they also have weaknesses and if we play according to our plans, beating them on Saturday won't be impossible. I know they have a good record against us because the last time we played against them was in the 2010 Council of East and Central Africa (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup in Tanzania where we lost 3-2. A lot has changed since then because I remember during that match we did not have our professional players' around. We need to believe in ourselves and go out and get a positive result. I would like to believe that we will triumph on Saturday.