Zico dedicates Stars victory over Sudan to suspended Kimanzi
Jacob Icia in Kampala
Harambee Stars assistant coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno has dedicated their 2-1 win over Sudan in yesterday’s group match that took them to the semifinals of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup to suspended head coach Francis Kimanzi.
Kimanzi was on Monday slapped with a two-match ban by tournament organisers over ‘gross misconduct’ and was thus lacking from the stadium as Kenya took on Sudan.
And his number two Zico who conjured up the victory courtesy of goals from Hassan Abdallah and Oscar Wamalwa was quick to attribute the win to his boss.
“We did all this for our coach because we felt we had to gift him and smother the undue punishment he has been subjected to. He did nothing, never met the match officials and organizers only to hear he was taking responsibility for things he did not know.
“We accepted it, but all in all we’ve won,” Zico said.
Kimanzi will also miss Kenya’s final group game against Zanzibar set for Saturday, but will resume touchline duties in the semis which Kenya is already guaranteed a slot following two straight wins.
Commenting about the suspension, former Harambee Stars striker George Sunguti who is in Uganda with the Bunge FC, said the impact is totally insignificant.
“He was stopped from managing the game directly on the match day, which happens to coaches but he is in the training sessions. Match plan is before a match and he is part of it still. The part of match situation can be easily handled by the rest of the technical bench because they understand the plan,” explained Sunguti.
Sunguti has at the same time tipped Kenya to retain the title, saying Stars are a class above their competitors.
“I’m 100 percent sure Kenya will take the trophy, no doubt about that. A keen observation can tell you something is happening in the team, which if sustained can propel us to greater heights in the near future,” he noted.
Kenya won the title in 2017 on home soil, under the tutelage of coach Paul Put when the championship was last held.