Kenya squad strategise how to beat Zimbabwe in 2010 WC / CAN qualifiers

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Kenya coach Francis Kimanzi faces a tough task in select ing a winning combination ahead of Sunday’s 2010 World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against hosts Zimbabwe.

Happy with the identical 2-0 first leg victories over Guinea and Zimbabwe, in Nairobi earlier in the month, the Holland-trained Kimanzi has to contend with the a bsence of goalkeeper Arnold Origi, who frustrated the losers’ striking force with fine saves at the Nyayo National Stadium 14 June.

Origi, who plays for Sweden’s FC Moss, twisted his knee and suffered a minor fracture during the match against Zimbabwe. He will be out of action for six weeks.

Kimanzi, a holder a UEFA B international coaching licence, is still waiting for the return to fitness of injured team captain Robert Mambo and forward Macdonald Mariga.

Mambo is based in Sweden, while Mariga turns out for Italy’s Serie A side, Parma.

Leaving nothing to chance, the Kenyan squad trained at the Astro-turf City Park Hockey Stadium, to get a feel of an artificial playing surface ahead of the match in Harare. The City Park Stadium has the only artificial playing surface in Kenya.

Reports reaching Nairobi from Harare indicate that the match is slated for Sunday at Harare’s National Stadium, which has an artificial playing surface.

Soccer authorities are, however, not sure if the pitch in Harare is Astro-turf or Destro turf. What matters is that its an artificial surface.

Kimanzi has placed on standby home-based midfielder, Andrew Oyombe, an elder brother of lethal striker, Dennis Oliech, who fired two past Guinea in Kenya’s 2-0 t hrashing of the west Africans.

Oliech also scored one against Zimbabwe in the first-leg match. Oyombe will bolster the midfield should Mambo fail to recover in time.

Also called up is dreadlocked goalkeeper, Noah Ayuko, who appears an automatic replacement for the injured Origi.

“Mariga would be having his first training session this evening. We will need two more sessions to know whether he will make the trip. Mambo’s hamstring injury is also healing,” said first-time national coach Kimanzi Wednesday.

He said given the fact that the Kenyan squad was not familiar with artificial surfaces, they must train on such a surface for at least two days before jetting out to Harare Friday.

Kenya, pooled together with Guinea, Zimbabwe and Namibia in Group Two of the qua lifiers, are leading the group standings with six points, followed by Zimbabwe who have four, Namibia, with four points are third-placed on account of goal difference. Guinea are languishing at the bottom with one point.

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