Harambee Stars Take On South Sudan In First Home Match In Nearly Two Years

Kenya men’s national football side – Harambbe Stars – will on Tuesday 12 September afternoon seek to conclude their recent international break on a good note as they host the Bright Stars of South Sudan in a highly anticipated clash scheduled for a 1600 EAT kick-off at the Moi International Sports Centre – Kasarani.

Following an impressive outing last Thursday in Qatar – where Kenya registered a last-gasp 2-1 victory at the Al-Janoub Stadium – confidence will be high in the Stars camp that will be looking at extending their decent record against a side ranked 62 places below them in the updated FIFA rankings.

“The mood in the camp is good and every player is ready to give their all. It will be the first match at home after a very long time and Kenyans should come out in huge numbers and support the team,” team skipper Michael Olunga said Monday, as the team conducted an evening training session at the Kasarani Stadium.

Obviously carrying the already lofted expectations drawn from a huge win last week, the game on Tuesday will also offer Kenyans a chance to watch their national team at home, given that the last time they hosted a men’s international fixture was back in November 2021, when Kenya saw off Rwanda 2-1 at the Nyayo National Stadium.

“The Kenyans in Qatar did a good job in cheering the team. They helped push us to the end and I hope those at home can do the same tomorrow. There is a lot of interest among Kenyans in trying to support the team and we now just need to put our house in order. The team is progressing well. The coach is trying to assemble a blend of experienced and youthful players. We are not being carried away by this, we are in the right direction though,” Olunga added on Monday.

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Whether Tuesday at the Kasarani Stadium could replicate anything close to the nearly 11,000 Kenyan fans that turned out at the Al Janoub Stadium is something we will have to wait and see, but South Sudan, reeling from a recent 4-0 thrashing to Mali in the last fixture of their Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers, will definitely be out to offer revenge.

“We beat them in the CECAFA U23 in Bahir Dar yet they were saying that we have never beaten them at that level. They will be surprised and know that they will not win every time. I know we will beat them. There is no permanent winning, They may be lucky to defeat us but it will not happen every other time,” South Sudan Football Association (SSFA) President Augustino Maduot Parek taunted on Monday.

Their record seems to speak otherwise though, with their last five matches on the road standing at just two wins and three losses, while they have only one win in their last five matches and conceded a massive 10 goals in their last six matches.

“We are focusing on the World Cup qualification where we start with a very tough match against Senegal. I want to be sure that when we go there we are competitive, and that is why we are playing this kind of friendly match,” South Sudan head coach Stefano Cusin offered on his team’s projections.

On team news, Kenya will be without the services of defender Jonhstone Omurwa and winger Ayub Timbe who have returned to their clubs in Portugal and China respectively, while Bandari’s Abdallah Hassan remains a doubt, having lost his passport in the build-up to the Qatar fixture.

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The sale of tickets will commence at eight in the morning on Tuesday, with three selling points; one outside Kenya Cinema in the CB and the other two at Kasarani’s Gate 2 and Gate 12.

Regular tickets for the match will retail at Ksh 200, with VIP tickets going for Ksh 500.