26 June 2019

Kenya/Tanzania: Battered Harambee Stars Regroup for Tanzania

Cairo — There is an adage that goes "if it ain't broken, don't fix it."

The reverse would also be true: "If it is broken, fix it."

Harambee Stars are still very much alive in the African Cup of Nations but on account of their performance against Algeria on Sunday when they were hammered 2-0, some sort of fixing may need to be made.

In their first training after the match, a day later, Stars coach Sebastien Migne hinted as much.

"It is important on day after a game to be there with the players, to feel them, to show them that I follow them. There may be another first 11 in another game," Migne said just before the early evening light training session.

Against Algeria, injury forced Migne to start Joseph Okumu and Musa Mohammed as his central defence pairing with Aboud Omar manning the left back and Philemon Otieno at right back positions. The composed Victor Wanyama was the fulcrum of a midfield that could not match the Algerians in guile and technique. It included Francis Kahata, Dennis Odhiambo and Eric Johanna.

SIGNIFANT IMPACT

Migne brought in Johanna Omolo in the 72nd minute and it is the Cercle Bruges midfielder who had a significant impact, showing the level at which Kenya should have been playing from the first whistle.

Migne used all his substitutes, first withdrawing the off-colour Kahata for Erick Ouma at the start of the second half, substituted Eric Johanna for Johanna Omolo before bringing in Ismael Gonzalez for Odhiambo. But it is Omolo who had the most impact, giving Kenya better structure moving forward with the ball.

Omolo was involved in two of Kenya's best build-ups of the match and will have staked a claim in the starting 11. Michael Olunga, who played up front with Ayub Timbe on the right flank, had one attempt at goal all evening, a shot at the edge of the 18 metre box in the second half that was blocked by a forest of Algerian legs, an indictment of Kenya's offensive play.

A day later, Migne was still hurting from that Algeria thumping: "I have tried to explain to them that if you do not play the game, you will lose. I accept to lose but not the way we played in the first half (against) Algeria. At the beginning of the game we were not there. But I saw something in the second half. This is a good team."

Joash Onyango, who injured his ankle in training on Saturday, sat out Monday's session. He is not expected to play until Kenya's final group match against Senegal on Monday.

Migne said Kenya had never won a game in the Afcon where there was a stake and he did not want to have any regrets.

"I want to be positive," he said. Tanzania beckons on Thursday from 10pm local time (11pm Kenyan time) at the 30 June Stadium.

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