Nairobi — Harambee Stars head coach Sebastien Migne has rued the absence of key players during the Hero Intercontinental Cup in India where Kenya reached the final but lost 2-0 to the hosts at the Mumbai Arena on Sunday.
The national team boss missed all Gor Mahia players and a few AFC Leopards players after their clubs held on to them for the SportPesa Super Cup, meaning the coach had to do with a different squad.
"It was difficult at the beginning because without professionals, without the best local players and with only 20 players it was a difficult mission but not an impossible mission," Migne said after the team jetted back to the country on Monday evening.
Stars played four matches, losing two, both to India while they won two, 4-0 against Chinese Taipei and 2-1 against New Zealand.
Migne was impressed however with the performance of the team and hopes they can pick the gains moving on especially ahead of September's African Cup of Nations qualifier against Ghana in Nairobi.
"When you start a competition, the aim is always to do the best and try to reach the final. We achieved this but it was not easy to recover for the final after playing just two days before. I am happy with the players because we had several who were on their first cap and now I have some answer about them," the coach added.
Looking back at the final where they lost 2-0 to hosts India courtesy of a brace from skipper Sunil Chhetri, Migne admitted the team might have suffered from stage fright.
"We missed some experience at the beginning. We were a little afraid but I was happy with the second half reaction. I think the tournament was okay for us to see the locals and I was surprised with the quality," the Frenchman further added.
Meanwhile, skipper Musa Mohammed noted the tournament gave the local based players an opportunity to impress the coach and noted they gained a lot from it.
"It was a great experience and everyone showed what they can do. We failed to come back with the cup which is sad, but we learnt a lot which is positive for us moving forward," Mohammed noted.
Migne will now get down to work with clearly a lot to do before Kenya plays Ghana in September and the tactician is hopeful he will be able to knit in a competitive team.
Nonetheless, he is still worried that he hasn't had an opportunity to play a friendly match with his full squad including the foreign based stars.
A lover of sports who seeks to tell the African story in an African way. Top ten finalist of the Abu Dhabi Sports Media Pearl Awards. Be it on the pitch, court, track, pool or course, the story will be told. On twitter @KakaTimm