December 6, 2021

Harambee Stars to struggle against Zambia – Xavier

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The AFC Leopards believe Kenya will struggle in their upcoming friendly against Chipolopolo

AFC Leopards legend Francis Xavier believes Kenya will struggle against Zambia in an international friendly to be played at Nyayo Stadium on October 10.

Both teams are using the match to gauge their players ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers scheduled for November. The former Kenya international has, however, stated the visitors will have the upper hand.

“This is a match in which the Harambee Stars come as the underdogs,” Xavier told Goal on Saturday.

“Remember since March, we have been dormant, no game has been played in the country as compared to our opponents. They are match fit and will come into the match better prepared.

“There is a high possibility that we will struggle in this game, it is going to be a tough one for us.”

Jesse Were, John Mark Makwatta, and David Owino are some of the big names plying their trade in the Zambian Premier League but had no place in Francis Kimanzi’s provisional squad.

“Were has been unlucky when it comes to the national team duties,” Xavier added.

“He is either overlooked [by fellow players on the pitch when in good areas] or he just doesn’t rise for the occasion when given an opportunity.

“For Makwatta, he has not been a regular and maybe the technical bench felt it is not the right time for him to be included. 

“With the absence of Olunga, most probably the coach will deploy more attacking midfielders, like Spain, and in this case, anyone can score.”

Harun Shakava, who plays for Nkana FC, Zesco United’s Ian Otieno, and Timothy Otieno, who recently joined Napsa Stars, are the only players from the Zambian Premier League who have been considered by Kimanzi. 

“I feel we could have given more players, who are playing in the Zambian league, a chance to come and represent Kenya,” Xavier opined.

“It could have been a massive psychological boost for the team considering they also understand some of the players since they have faced them at some point.”

Kenya are scheduled to play Comoros on November 9 away before hosting them a fortnight later in the Afcon qualifiers.