Bafana Bafana face the Harambee Stars following a disappointing loss against Poland. A young Kenyan side will pose a different kind of challenge for Gordon Igesund’s squad
A late winner by a dominant Polish side left Bafana Bafana mourning their lack of concentration in Warsaw. Now the focus shifts to Nairobi and a battle against a young Kenyan side which will be striving to impress new coach Henri Michel.
The game will certainly allow Igesund to test players who did not get a run in Warsaw, as he faces a Kenyan outfit which will not be as dangerous as Poland.
Gordon Igesund will be hoping for a competitive outing against the Kenyans at the Nyayo Stadium on Monday night. More than anything, Igesund will want his Bafana side to learn from their mistakes in Poland and be more clinical in front of goal.
The Harambee Stars are ranked 37th in Africa and will use a squad which is composed of a variety of inexperienced local players for the match against Bafana Bafana. With an initial fifteen local players already selected, seven international stars are set to join the team for the game.
Kenya are hoping their consistent striker Auxerre’s Dennis Oliech is available for the match, as he will add a dimension of experience and proven ability to their attack.
Oliech will serve as Bafana’s greatest threat if he is selected, as his impressive goal tally of twenty-eight goals in seventy-eight games displays his attacking prowess for the Kenyan side.
Another player to look out for includes the formidable Victor Wanyama. The Celtic defensive midfielder is set to join the squad for the friendly and will add his strength and ability to hold up the ball. He has played consistently for Celtic since joining the Scottish champions in 2011.
Bafana will certainly start the game the superior team, but Kenya coach Henri Michel is confident his players are looking for a positive result. Bafana will have to come to terms with playing against a largely unknown and untested squad.
Kenyan footballers are known for their stamina and strength on the pitch and will not let up during the ninety-minutes playing a hard running game. Some of their players offer physicality in defence such as Sofapaka’s Eugine Asiki.
The younger generation of players will want to display their hunger for future selection against a tough opponent.
However Michel’s first match in charge of the national side will be a difficult encounter for the younger group of players he has decided to pick for the friendly. Bafana will be looking to score goals and outplay the Harambee stars with an attacking mindset.
Michel’s selection policy came as a surprise to most Kenyan fans as he has left out nine established local stars and has shifted his focus onto a younger generation of Kenyan Premier League players.
Michel is an experienced coach in Africa, but has been known for making controversial decisions at times. He has coached teams from all corners of the continent and his primary aim is to develop the Kenyan side in order to better their low FIFA ranking of 126th in the world.
The Kenyan side has lost their last two internationals. The team has been inconsistent the past two years and did not start their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign brightly after a 0-0 draw against Malawi and a 1-0 loss against Namibia.
Michel’s appointment as coach is a direct result of Kenya’ poor performances and he is expected to try and turn the Harambee Stars fortunes around in the lead up to their important CHAN qualifier against Burundi.
Kenya failed once again to qualify for the 2013 African Cup of Nations following a 1-0 defeat against Togo in the second leg of the qualifier match which was played in Lome.
The Kenyan side has not qualified for the tournament in nine years displaying their struggle to make an impact on the African continent. Michel will have to try and conjure up some magic in order to create a successful unit out of his new Kenyan outfit.
The team is not expected to be a dominant force in Africa, but their recent results have left fans demoralised. The friendly against Bafana Bafana will be an ideal opportunity for Michel to impose his style of play on the side and test the up and coming players from the Kenyan League.