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How important are these friendly matches for Kenya?

08:07 GMT+3 24/03/2018
Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi.
Kenya has not played against the Central African Republic in recent past, and it will be a good 'training' session

Kenya is scheduled to play Comoros and the Central African Republic on Saturday and Tuesday.

The last time Harambee Stars faced the former was in 2014 during the Afcon Qualifiers. The East African side needed a Johanna Omolo strike to win the first leg by a solitary goal, with the away match ending 1-1; Ayub Timbe was on the score sheet for the Stars with Yacin Saandi scoring for the Islanders.

Kenya has not played against the Central African Republic in recent past, and it will be a good 'training' session for the Stanley Okumbi led side.

Since 2016, Kenya has played eleven friendly matches, winning four, drawing five and losing two. But why are these friendly matches important for Kenya?


To gauge new players


We have players like John Oyemba, Faruk Shikhalo and Erick Kapaito, who are trying it out with the national team after an impressive run in the league.

With these friendly matches, the coach gives them an opportunity to show what they can bring to the team. It is also a way of ushering them to the national side and gauge their value.


Try new tactics


With such friendly matches, the coach can afford the trial and error with his techniques. It is also the perfect moment to try different formations in his bid to get the best one for the team.

These friendly matches give the coach a chance to try players in different positions, where they can be more effective for the team.

Where does Francis Kahata fit? Is it on the wing or behind the striker? Which partnership works better in the midfield, is it Eric Johanna and Victor Wanyama or Anthony Akumu and Big Vic? These are some of the things friendly matches help you to get right.


Improve on Fifa Rankings


This is the most important thing. Once you select your friendly matches well and get a positive result, be rest assured that the team will improve in the rankings. This has however, been Kenya's major undoing, on most occasions going for the teams that are poorly ranked.

For instance, Comoros is ranked 132nd in the World, facing a team like that will not be beneficial in the long run.


Afcon preparations


After starting the 2019 Afcon qualifiers on a low note following the 2-1 defeat away to Sierra Leone, these friendly matches will help Kenya shape for the next assignment against Ghana in September.