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The more the players are together; the easier it will be to build a strong team able to jell for better results like it was the case against Nigeria in Calabar on Saturday

By Otieno Otieno

The World Cup is still a long way for Harambee Stars despite a splendid performance against Nigeria in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier.

Actually, the real work begins now. With two home matches to go, the team will do well not to rest on its laurels but rather work even harder to be sure of maximum points and a place in the World Cup which will be a historical moment for the country.

The current Football Kenya Federation administration deserves to be commended for the team’s current form. Under the leadership of Sam Nyamweya, the administration has made international build-up matches a priority.

For the first time last year, the team did not sit out any of the Fifa friendly days playing Tanzania, South Africa and Libya along the way and the results are there for all to see.

The players are showing a lot of confidence playing away and this is partly the reason they held their own against the mighty Super Eagles of Nigeria.

There was no much difference between the Stars and their opponents perhaps an indication of the maturity the build up matches have built in the players.

But the work ahead is more difficult. First the federation should ensure that the current playing unit stays intact. The more the players are together; the easier it will be to build a strong coordination and be able to jell together for better results in future.

The federation must do all in its power to ensure that all players in the team are always available when called upon for national duty. Efforts must be made to clear any misunderstandings with some players, who have for one reason or another declined to honour international duties in recent times.

Praise should be given to some players who have shown rare patriotism and always show up for national duty whenever called upon.

Team captain Dennis Oliech is one such player who has never wavered in his national duty. Oliech has been a consistent member of the team for the last ten years and one who always leads from the front.

Goalkeeper Arnold Origi is also another such player, who despite everything else is always ready to play for his motherland.

Last month, Origi was in the news criticizing national team preparations but he never refused to come when called upon even when it is clear that he was not happy with how some things are done in the team.

New coach Adel Amrouche, who was handling his first game as Kenyan coach, has clearly shown that he has what it takes to take the country places.

The coach therefore, needs all the support he can get to succeed. The Kenyan government also ought to come in and give more support to the team.

It is commendable that they gave the team air tickets to travel to Nigeria but that is not enough. The team needs more than just air-tickets but reasonable allowances and other kind of incentives that will encourage them to wear the national team jersey.

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