Harambee Stars coach looks for 'a happy ending' to cup campaign

What you need to know:

  • Stars are in line to depart for Zambia on Thursday morning, ahead of their final qualification game against the “Chipolopolo” at the Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola on Saturday.
  • Both Zambia and Kenya - ranked third and fourth in group E with six and four points respectively - have been eliminated from the running to play at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi says he is aiming to wind up the team’s unsuccessful 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign on a high.

Stars are in line to depart for Zambia on Thursday morning, ahead of their final qualification game against the “Chipolopolo” at the Levy Mwanawasa stadium in Ndola on Saturday.

Both Zambia and Kenya - ranked third and fourth in group E with six and four points respectively - have been eliminated from the running to play at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.

The group’s sole automatic qualification berth has already been secured by surprise leaders Guinea Bissau ahead of second placed Republic of Congo.

Okumbi spoke in Kampala on Tuesday evening, moments after his team held the hosts to a barren draw in an international friendly at the Nelson Mandela Stadium.

He said: “We are improving. We started slow but as you can see, we are getting better. There is something positive about the team. I hope we maintain this momentum against Zambia.”

Skipper Victor Wanyama and fellow midfielders Eric Johanna and Anthony Akumu, alongside centre-backs David “Calabar” Owino and David Ochieng, were the stand-out players against Uganda.

These lot, alongside strikers Micheal Olunga and Jesse Were, will be key as Kenya hope to avenge the 2-1 defeat suffered against Zambia in the reverse fixture played in Nairobi last September.

However Zambia coach George Lwandamina, who also manages Kenya trio Owino, Were and Akumu at Zesco is of a different opinion. “I never go to a game hoping for another result other than a win. I am however preparing my players to work hard for that result because the Kenyans got some good players and have been improving in the last couple of months,” Lwandamina told Daily Nation Sport on phone on Wednesday.

A win over Zambia will see Stars - who have failed to qualify for the Nations Cup for the past 12 years -  leapfrog Zambia into third on the final group standings.

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