Kenya will play 2012 Africa Cup of Nations champions Zambia in the second round match of their 2017 AFCON qualifier match at the Nyayo Stadium on Sunday (Sep 6.)
The Harambee Stars have not qualified for Africa’s premier football competition since 2004 but having collected an unexpected 1-1 draw away to Congo Brazzaville in their opening clash, Bobby Williamson’s side will fancy his team’s chances against the visiting Chipolopolo who were held to a barren draw by Guinea-Bissau.
Victory for either sides will most likely put them in charge of Group E which has all the four teams tied on a single point.
Stars under pressure
The home team will be under more pressure to deliver though in front of their fans, meaning that Williamson must put forward his best side.
Our bib theorists have come up with the possible XI that Williamson will use against the 2012 African champions.
Norway-based keeper Arnold Origi is almost guaranteed to start in goal despite having last played for Stars in 2013 against the Comoros. Origi, who has not played under Williamson, will be keen to impress at home and show why he’s still considered the undisputed number one in the country. Boniface Oluoch was in goal in the one all draw with Congo but will have to be content with watching the proceedings from the bench.
David Owino ‘Calabar’ will be a sure starter in defence, but most precisely at right back. The Zesco United man will hopefully have a secret or two to confide to his teammates having had the experience to play in the Zambian league for a couple of seasons.
Malaysia-based Lawrence Olum and new Maritzburg United signing Brian Mandela should start at the heart of defence with Thika United captain Dennis Odhiambo shutting the left full back position. Odhiambo impressed against Ethiopia in Kenya’s last match at the Nyayo Stadium.
Two holding midfielders
Williamson prefers playing with two holding midfielders. Should he go that route again, Gor Mahia’s Collins Okoth will be slotted alongside captain Victor Wanyama to shield the defence.
Ayub Timbe will have all the creative midfield duties loaded on his back. Paul Were scored the famours goal in Congo but has not played a lot of football in the past couple of months. However, he will most likely get the nod on either flanks. Gor Mahia hot-shot Michael Olunga will be the first name to be considered for either one man upfront or two.
Should Williamson go for twin strikers, Olunga will be supported by Dennis Oliech or Allan Wanga, the duo just ahead of Jesse Were in terms of experience despite the Tusker man being the fitter forward. One of the two strikers will have to drift into wide positions to create width and pull Timbe and co into attacking positions.
Harambee Stars Probable Lineup: Arnold Origi (GK), David Owino, Lawrence Olum, Brian Mandela, Dennis Odhiambo; Collins Okoth, Victor Wanyama; Ayub Timbe, Paul Were, Michael Olunga, Dennis Oliech
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