11 December 2012

Kenya: Let Them Rest

Harambee Stars head coach Henri Michel may not have the luxury of pickinginG from the Kenyan team that so impressed by finishing second in the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup after losing 2-1 to hosts Uganda Cranes.

Michel opted out of leading the Kenyan squad to the regional tournament choosing to remain behind and prepare the senior teams for this weekends African Nations Championship match against Burundi in Bujumbura.

"The coach will have to do with the players he has had in camp for the last few weeks. I understand he might have been impressed by the performance of the Cecafa team and may want to take in a few players but they are obviously tired after playing six matches in two weeks and will need to rest," Football Kenya Federation chairman Sam Nyamweya said when asked of the possibility of some of the Uganda squad joining the team for the Burundi match.

The team returned from Uganda. Michel's CHAN squad is made up of members drawn from the senior Stars team but the displays of several players at the Cecafa tournament has left many wondering whether the James Nandwa coached side should not be the one doing duty for Kenya in the continental tournament featuring players in domestic leagues.

Tusker's David Ochieng was the revelation in Uganda. On his maiden his appearances for the national team, he scored two goals from his defensive midfield role earning plaudits from Nandwa as well as club coach Robert Matano of Tusker.

"Ochieng is versatile. He has done well in such a short time. He still has a lot to learn but he has got the potential to go far," Matano said.

The Kenyan defence in particular stood tall in Uganda with Azam bound Joakins Atudo, skipper Anthony Kimani, Sofapaka left back Abdalla Juma and Gor's injured centre half David Owino creating a fortress in front of Duncan Ochieng despite conceding seven goals in their six matches including the two own goals they scored in the final against Uganda.

Juma, the overlapping fullback made a name for himself with his pinpoint crosses and corners and has been marked as one to make the left back role his own in the main Stars team.

Another player who impressed was Thika winger Clifton Miheso, a regular with the natioanl Under 23 team. The versatile winger scored two goals in the Challenge Cup. The CHAN squad resumed residential training at Kasarani yesterday afternoon.

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