Desperate Harambee Stars reinforce for Guinea-Bissau

Atudo can play both as centre back or at right back.

Friday March 25 2016

Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi reacts during a training session at Utalii grounds on March 20, 2016 in preparation for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea Bissau. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |

Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi reacts during a training session at Utalii grounds on March 20, 2016 in preparation for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea Bissau. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVID KWALIMWA
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Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi on Friday called up Joackins Atudo and Lucas Indeche ahead of Sunday’s must-win 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against tiny Guinea Bissau at the Nyayo National Stadium.

Also available is Greece-based speedy forward Paul Were, who missed the reverse fixture against Guinea as his travel documents could not be processed in time.

Were, who scored Kenya’s lone goal in their 1-1 draw away to the Republic of Congo last June, is favourite to start on the left side of Stars attack at the expense of Clifton Miheso.

Atudo can play both as centre back or at right back. He has been summoned for the suspended David Owino, who has picked two yellow cards in this competition.

“I needed an experienced defender who has been in this situation before. Someone who will not require time to adjust. This is a high stakes match,” Okumbi said.

Thus, either Atudo, James Situma or Musa Mohammed will line up alongside Brian Mandela against the Djurtus.

Indeche - who has enjoyed a rich vein of form for AFC Leopards this season - is coming in as cover for custodians Arnold Origi and Boniface Oluoch.

Okumbi, who faced criticism for Wednesday’s 1-0 loss in Bissau, is fretting over the fitness of Zambia-based midfielder Anthony Akumu, who has an eye ailment.

Kariobangi Sharks midfielder Patillah Omotto, who struggled to find his rhythm in an advanced creative role in, could drop to the bench.

Stars captain Victor Wanyama has issued a rallying call ahead of the fixture with emphasis on need to maintain focus.

“Whoever is called up for the match will need to maintain concentration at all times, which was basically our undoing last time round,” Wanyama told Saturday Nation Sport on Friday.

“Playing at home, it is important to bag our first win of the qualifiers and we hope to carry that momentum to the remaining games.”

MAIDEN WIN

Okumbi has emphasised that his charges will go all out in attack as they seek their maiden win in the qualifiers - on the fourth attempt.

The youthful coach will however have to be wary of Guinea Bissau’s potent squad, which held the much fancied Zambia to a goalless draw in Ndola last June.

The tiny west African nation, expected in Nairobi this morning, is, however, expected to employ a much defensive formation, with only Abel Camara and Formose Mendy handed licence to attack in phases depending on how the match progresses.

Guinea Bissau have until this point of the qualifiers amassed four points from three matches, three more than Kenya.

Zambia and Congo are joint top with five points ahead of their rematch in Brazzaville, having settled for a 1-1 draw during the reverse fixture in Ndola on Wednesday.

Kenya’s other matches in the qualifiers include a home game against Claude Le Roy’s Congo and an away tie to George Lwandamina’s Chipolopolo.

Personnel drawn from the GSU, Anti-Terrorist Police Unit and the National Youth Service will provide security in tomorrow’s match.

The federation has urged Kenyans to come out in large numbers and cheer the team.

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