Kampala — Harambee Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi has pleaded his innocence after he was slapped with a two match ban by the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup organizing Committee over an incident that occurred before Stars' first game against Tanzania on Sunday.
According to the CECAFA organizers, Kimanzi allegedly influenced his players to boycott the match because three of the Tanzania players did not have requisite documents to play and they alleged further that he locked them in the changing room before the game.
However, Kimanzi says he was not told exactly what he did in person, but adds he will sit out of the two matches against Sudan and Zanzibar.
"I have also read it and I don't know what I have done to be suspended. Maybe to win? I don't know what I did because there is a Team Manager and I am on the technical part. I did what I was supposed to do; warmed up the team, managed a game that we won and that's it," Kimanzi said.
"When you are not explained anything on your side it is not easy to start defending yourself. Because for what am I defending myself," further posed the tactician.
Kimanzi received his letter from CECAFA on Monday evening as they came in to the Lugogo Arena for their pre-match warm up and he says he will abide by the suspension but is confident the team will still be okay even in his absence.
"I have a very experienced technical bench that supports me and there is nothing that will change. Maybe only the face of Kimanzi but the game will be played, the boys will have fun and I am sure we will win it," stated the coach.
Stars play Sudan on Tuesday afternoon at Lugogo and a win will assure them of a place in the semi-finals, having already won their opening game against Tanzania on Sunday.
Sudan have just one point after drawing 1-1 with Zanzibar with a last minute equalizer and will also be yearning for three points to boost their hopes of progressing to the last four.
Kimanzi believes that his side will be well prepared for the game despite the tough assignment that awaits them.
"Despite the fact that we only had 40 minutes of training, we are looking sharp and everyone is well rested. The boys look ready for the game because it's an important match. The second game is always very tough because most times teams look at it like a final," added the coach.
He has reiterated that the team is looking to not only defend its title on enemy territory but also build up the depth of the main squad ahead of next year's 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The coach says he has been impressed with the players' attitude and hard working nature so far and believes the players will show even better quality as they play more matches.