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Harambee Stars face Pakistan in Mauritius friendly duel

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Harambee Stars players during a training session
  • Stars arrived late in Mauritius and missed their game against Djibouti
  • They will also play the hosts on Sunday
  • Coach Firat is using the friendly matches to build a team

National football team Harambee Stars will take on Pakistan in an international friendly in Mauritius on Wednesday evening. The team was initially to start the four-nation tournament against Djibouti on Sunday, but their late arrival meant they missed the march.

They were to travel to the island nation on Saturday but left early Monday morning due to late booking of flights. But, they will put that all behind with the head coach Engin Firat trying to find a right team ahead of the next round of international matches in November, the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

“This tournament gives me a good opportunity to see more players. For me, I want to see if they are able to play well under stress. The national team is more of how you can adapt. There will be chances for everyone and I hope they can take it,” the tactician said.

He has included several new faces in his squad that travelled out to Mauritius, with the likes of Kakamega Homeboyz striker Moses Shummah, Nzoia Sugar’s Joseph Mwangi and Kariobangi Sharks defender Kevin Luke Otiala all getting a shot.

Several players missing with injury

Harambee Stars players during a training session

He will also be missing several players with Masud Juma, Joseph Okumu and Brian Mandela all missing with injury while Kenneth Muguna asked to be excused. Goalkeeper Patrick Matasi was also not included as he has just returned from injury.

“Compared to the last game against Iran, there are five players from the starting 11 who are not with us. It is a bit disappointing because as a coach you always want to have the same players to use but on another hand, I try to always see everything in a positive way,” the Turk said.

He added; “There are new players who can use this chance and work on it and I hope they understand this and use this chance to show themselves that they are ready for the challenge.”

The team will be looking to get confidence boosting results, with the tactician keeping an eye on building a huge database of players as Kenya seeks a historic World Cup qualification from November.

“We have to start preparing now and we have to get the players ready. We need a bigger pool of players to increase competition,” noted the tactician.

Olunga impressed with new players 

Harambee Stars skipper Michael Olunga during a training session

Meanwhile, captain Michael Olunga has said the team will be looking to get good results in Mauritius.

“This is a new crop of players, and a new team we are trying to build. There are lots of young players and such tournaments are usually good to give them confidence and make them more experienced before we get into international competitions,” the Qatari based forward said.

He added; “I am really impressed with the work everyone is giving in training and I am sure the future is bright for the team. Early preparation is always key for success and I want to thank the Federation and the government for this support they have given us to enable the friendly matches,” noted the skipper.

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