Africa

Stars optimistic ahead of Nigeria game

Harambee Stars Norway-based goalkeeper Arnold Origi is expected to ensure that some of the goalkeeping blunders by Noah Ayuko during the Kenya-Tunisia march earlier this year which cost Kenya all three points are not repeated when they face host Nigeria Sunday in the 2010 World Cup qualifier match in Abuja.

 

Head coach Antoine Hey says the game will not be easy and that they hope to rely on a good game plan.

Kenya has never beaten Nigeria in all its meetings since 1981 and the best they have done was a a 1-1 draw at the Moi Sports Center Kasarani in 1997 during a World Cup qualifying match.

The Super Eagles recently concluded a successful European tour where they played two international friendlies drawing one all with Ireland and beating the 2006 World Cup finalists France 1-0 at St Etienne.

The Stars never played any international friendly in their preparation for the match choosing to gauge their strength against local premier league teams.

Meanwhile Ex-Nigeria Skipper Sunday Oliseh has warned the super Eagles not to underrate Harambee Stars saying the team was in Abuja to defend. “If you have been following the qualifying games, you would know that the Kenyans are not going to come and play just like the Irish or French did,” Oliseh said in an interview.

“We should expect a different team that is going to be defensively conscious because they know they are playing against a Super Eagles side that is very quick and good on the counter and so we should have at the back of our minds that we will be entertaining a defensively inclined team that will be motivated and not scared of us.

“We should do like we used to in those days, turn the heat on in the first 20-30 minutes of the game and if we are lucky, we will get the goals and that will make the job easier.”

Oliseh predicted that if Nigeria can avoid any more slips in the qualifying campaign, the country’s flag will fly at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Nigeria President Musa Yar’Adua is set to watch the match on Sunday.

According to the sports minister, Sani Ndanusa President Yar’Adua, will be among the crowd at the Abuja National Stadium to cheer the Super Eagles to victory.

Last month, President Yar’Adua inaugurated a special task force to ensure that Nigeria qualifies for the 2010 World Cup, saying it will be a national disaster if the country fails to do so.

Harambee stars lost their last World Cup qualification match 2-1 to Tunisia in Nairobi.

The match will be televised live on KBC’s Channel One starting 7pm local time.

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