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Africa Cup of Nations Qualification

2019 Afcon qualifiers: What Kenya must do to beat Ethiopia

7:22 pm AEDT 9/10/18
Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi and Sebastien Migne.
The last time Harambee Stars reached the Afcon finals was way back in 2004 in Tunis, Tunisia under coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee

Harambee Stars will take on Ethiopia’s Walya Antelopes in a Group F match of the Afcon qualifiers at Bahir Dar Stadium on Wednesday.

The Kenyan side comes into the match as favourites following their recent form and quality, but they cannot underrate the hosts, who defeated them 2-0 three years ago in the same venue during the Chan qualifiers.

Kenyan head coach Sebastien Migne is aware of the support the home team is expected to receive but the visitors have to win the game if they are to realize their dream of making it to the finals next year in Cameroon.

So what should Kenya do to ensure they get maximum points?

Maintain their strategy

Against Ghana, the hosts did everything as a unit; when on the ball, they moved forward strategically, and when they lost possession, they were quick to get back and defend in numbers. At some point, Ghana failed to penetrate the midfield and when they did, the defenders were waiting. The worst Kenya can do is change their tactics halfway through the match; it is a mistake many teams do.

Ethiopia are not minnows

There is nothing that is difficult than beating your neighbor no matter how weak he may look to be. On paper, Kenya has the quality to beat Walya Antelopes, but on pitch it is a different story. Kenyan players should take their rivals with the seriousness they deserve, it is a competition that does not need slip ups. The last time Kenya played Ethiopia in a friendly at Kasarani, things did not go as planned. The visitors matched their hosts in almost every department and at the end they managed to get a draw. With Ethiopia needing maximum points to bring their campaign back on track, there will be no room for complacency.

Get an eary goal

An early goal can always affect the strategy of any team during a match. Kenya has the talent in the striking department that can score at any given time. The best way to frustrate the opponent is by taking that early chance; punish any mistake within the first fifteen minutes. Chasing a game is never an easy thing, and by scoring early, automatically the pressure shifts to the home team. Coach Migne should explain this to his charges and get his tactics right to achieve the same.

The team must be composed

When playing against a side supported by over 80,000 plus fans, tension and panic can creep in and before a team even discovers the same, they are trailing by one or two goals. Most of the players in the national team have played in hostile stadiums and are aware of the expectations. Let that experience come into play against Ethiopia from the first to final whistle. Concentration should be on the pitch not on the jeers from the fans. Once they do that, the game will just flow and at the end of the day, the team will get a positive result.