Harambee Stars coach Sebastien Migne says the back to back clashes against Ethiopia will be vital in his side’s ambition to earn a slot at the finals after a 14-year absence.
“It is a very tough test especially away from home. Ethiopia at home are a very good team and their fans really give them a push so we know it will be no easy task. But our confidence is up and the players believe this is a possibility,” the tactician said as the team left for the Ethiopian city of Bahir Dar.
Kenya beat Ghana 1-0 in Nairobi on match day two last September and it is that confidence Migne is hoping to ride on ahead of Wednesday’s game in Ethiopia. With no fresh injury worries, the tactician believes they can give a good account and get positive results.
He will be boosted with the availability of skipper Victor Wanyama who missed the Ghana game due to fitness concerns. He has accumulated enough playing time with his English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, thus ready for the tie.
“I am so happy to have Victor (Wanyama) back because he is my captain and the best player in the team. We won without him against Ghana and he adds strength coming back and I hope now we can also win with him,” Migne said of his captain’s return.
Also coming back after missing the Ghana game is winger Paul Were who was nursing an injury as well as defender Brian Mandela who slots in straight to replace Joash Onyango who was sent off against Ghana.
Midfielder Johannah Omollo who missed the Ghana game after aggravating a thigh strain on the final day of training is also back having fully recovered, but there is no space for deputy captain David Odhiambo who is yet to regain fitness.
Migne however is confident he has a strong squad to give Ethiopia a run for their money with the Walya Antelopes coming into the tie beaming with confidence after also winning 1-0 against Sierra Leone at the same venue on match day two.
The players are meanwhile confident they can get a result in Ethiopia and wrap up the campaign when they play the return leg on Sunday in Nairobi.
“It has been a short period of training together but there has already been some cohesion and the players understand the coach’s way of work. Ours is to go to the pitch and give our best because Ethiopia will not be an easy opponent,” striker Allan Wanga added.
Migne had a full squad at his disposal in Ethiopia with the entire group of foreign based players jetting in straight from their European bases.
The local based players travelled in two batches, with the final group leaving on Monday morning after the completion of the Kenyan Premier League on Sunday.