Harambee Stars set to leave for Guinea Bissau qualifier

Saturday March 19 2016

Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi reacts during a training session on March 15, 2016 at Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi reacts during a training session on March 15, 2016 at Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ISAAC SWILA
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Fired-up Harambee Stars jet out Monday morning for Guinea Bissau aboard a chartered flight with focus on beating the hosts in Wednesday’s crunch African Cup of Nations qualifier.

The two sides will go neck-and-neck at the 20,000-seater, Estadio 24 de Setembro in Bissau and head coach Stanley Okumbi says his boys are raring to go.

The team has been in residential camp since Monday doing two training sessions a day and the soft-spoken 36-year-old coach told Sunday Nation Sport on Saturday that his charges will go all out in attack in the match.

“So far, I’m impressed. The sessions have gone on as planned and we are ready. We do not fear them, we want to go there and do the best for our country and to fight to win,” Okumbi said on Saturday moments after taking the boys through their paces in a morning workout at the Utalii College.

“We have no injuries and we have to plan well and play our best.”

Some 11 players, technical bench members and federation officials will board the government hired chartered plane to make the seven-hour trip to Bissau.

The plane will leave the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at around 8am and make stopover in Cameroon for refuelling before proceeding to Bissau.

In a separate interview, Football Kenya Federation president, Nick Mwendwa said that all travel and accommodation plans have been made adding that past poor treatment of the team in West Africa will be a thing of the past.

“We sent out an advanced delegation of two in Daniel Muli and Ronie Oyando who are tasked with putting in place all the logistics for the team’s successful stay,” Mwendwa said.

“West Africa is a tricky destination and to play away on Wednesday is a big task because you are moving players from one continent to the other and flight connection is also a challenge more so for West Africa.

“We have however put in place all the measures required. I will travel with the team and we are not leaving anything to chance.”

WANYAMA TO JOIN TEAM IN BISSAU

Mwendwa added that skipper Victor Wanyama, who is expected to feature for Southampton as they face off with Liverpool today at the St Mary’s Stadium, will link up with the team by Tuesday morning.

For ages, West Africa has been a hostile hunting ground for Stars. In March 2013, Stars, then under the tutelage of Adel Amrouche, were subjected to shabby treatment in Nigeria where they had gone to play the host in a World Cup qualifier.

Shocking images of the team doing running drills behind class rooms in a primary school raised a storm with Kenyans on social media venting their fury of the then Sam Nyamweya-led federation for not making proper travel and accommodation plans.

Stars, despite the cruel treatment went on to defy the hosts, settling for a 1-1 draw with playmaker Francis Kahata putting Stars ahead only for the hosts to equalise at the death.