Harambee Stars to bounce back against Tanzania, says Muhiddin

Former Harambee Stars head coach Twahir Muhiddin says he was pessimistic about Kenya’s chance against Algeria, in their African Cup of Nations (AFCON) opener on Sunday.

Algeria comfortably overcame Sebastian Migne’s Stars 2-0 with hitman Baghdad Bounedjah and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez hitting one each, in Kenya’s first appearance in the continental fiesta in 15 years.

According to Muhidin, Stars had shown bluntness in their pre-Afcon two matches and expected no miracle in Algeria’s clash.

“I was not surprised, having seen the way we (Kenya) played against Madagascar and DR Congo. We are creating very few chances and even our strikers are not getting a chance to give their best. We had no complete transitions and that way we couldn’t make an impact against such a top side, no wonder we had no shot on target,” said a disturbed Muhidin.

The veteran tactician, however, feels Migne has built a compact defensive side that can deny any side to score, in a day individual mistakes are avoided.

“Defensively we are good. The mistakes that led to the goals are not a team thing but individual, and if the specific players can correct themselves, I’m sure we can defend better. With good defense and sure transitions, we can then feed Olunga (Michael) and Timbe (Ayub) who have shown can get goals,” he noted.

Beat Tanzania

He, however, believes Kenya still has a chance for the second round having analyzed fellow Group C opponents Tanzania, who sunk to Senegal by a similar margin.

“We have a very big opportunity to reignite our campaign when we face Tanzania. I have coached there and I know they don’t know how to cope with high-speed football. We can play a fast game and because they will want attack also, we exploit their slowness,” opined the Badari FC Technical Director.

Muhiddin, however, warned Tanzania were affected by stage fright in their match against Senegal and could be different against Kenya.

“They (Tanzania) can express themselves better in the next match because they have already faced an African giant. The pressure the first match is over, and they consider Kenya a team of their class.”

Senegal-Algeria factor

Muhidin has in the meantime said Senegal true test will come in Algeria’s match, hence determine how far they can go.

“The talk about Senegal going all the way cannot be concluded this early. Of course, they are among the favourites but they need to show what they can do against a side of their standard competitively. Tanzania was a cheaper test for them, and seeing how most of the former powerhouses have struggled to make an impact against the pre-tournament minnows you cannot rule out possible upsets,” observed the coach.

Kenya next faces Tanzania on June 27 before concluding their group fixtures against the Lions of  July 3.

Only Uganda from the Cecafa zone has registered a win so far, beating DR Congo 2-0.