MAINLAND soccer team, Kilimanjaro Stars, Head Coach, Ammy Ninje has said his charges will bounce back after a disappointing start to this year's CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.
Kilimanjaro Stars played out to a barren draw with Libya in second match of Group 'A' on day one of the regional tournament at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos, Kenya. "We played well but surely it wasn't a pleasing result to us but we will work to iron out the shortcomings we observed in the opening match," he said.
He said against Libya, the team had a good cohesion from the rear to attack only that they need learn taking their chances. Both teams went into the match clearly aware of the results of the opening game in the group, where Kenya beat Rwanda 2-0.
Ninje, a former Hull City Academy Development coach, picked one point in his first match since he took over at Kilimanjaro Stars last November, despite the Mainlanders' slow start in the first half. Zachary Afrai almost gave Libya the lead in the 4th minute, but the opposing goalkeeper Aishi Manula came out of his line to make a crucial save.
Libya's attack was as a response to the initial assault mounted by Kilimanjaro Stars just two minutes after the opening whistle when Elias Maguri dropped a thunderbolt that missed the target by a few inches.
Both teams missed several clear-cut chances, but it was Libya, who will have themselves to blame having failed to take advantage of Kilimanjaro Stars errors in the opening minutes of the game.
The East Africans almost gave away two clear chances but Manula was fast to react. Mohammed Amir won Libya a free on the edge of the box kick in the 22nd minute but Stars mounted a thick wall that kept the visitors' attack at bay.
Kilimanjaro Stars responded to Libya's attack in the 27th minute but Maguri failed to connect Gadiel Michael's begging cross from the left flank. The North Africans, who were the better side, scores notwithstanding, made a double attack in Kilimanjaro Stars' goal, eight minutes later, but Manula saved Ninje the blushes with a cool save from close range.
Stars in confidence to move forward, forced Libya to retreat to their defence. The shred of confidence by Kilimanjaro Stars saw them create three deadly chances but they could not find the back of the net.
Libya will take on Kenya in the second match on Tuesday as Zanzibar squares it out with Rwanda, who lost their opening match to Kenya. Kilimanjaro Stars next match will be against their brothers, Zanzibar Heroes on Thursday, a game Ninje predicted will be tough.