We have nothing to lose against Senegal, says Stars coach Migne
Ahead of the make-or-break tie against Africa`s top ranked team in Senegal, Harambee Stars head coach Sebastian Migne has said his team has nothing to lose when the two sides lock horns here on Monday night.
Stars have a chance of making it to the knockout stages of the competition for the very first time in their history with a win or a draw against the Senegalese who are considered the overwhelming favourites.
But addressing the press here ahead of the showdown, the Frenchman added that he has a fully fit squad to choose from even as he alluded to a tough contest between the two sides.
Asked on the Senegalese ability and the threat they pose tomorrow, he said: “It’s already very difficult to take care of the mentality of our players so I can only talk about my team; I cannot judge the mentality of the Senegalese players… they are at the same level with nations like Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Egypt…, it’s a fact so we have to continue to work towards winning this kind of competition (tomorrow’s match) and to keep going forward and it would be OK for me tomorrow.
He went on: “Technically they are very good, and they also have one of the best players in Sadio Mane so we know it’s going to be difficult, so for us we’re going to compete against this kind of team and it’s going to be a pleasure.”
Box-to-box midfielder Johanna Omolo who scored Kenya’s second goal with a header in the jaw-dropping 3-2 victory over Tanzania on Sunday night also weighed in. “It’s true, it has been long since we’ve been here at the AFCON, 15 years, so it’s not just the first time for me but for everyone in the team, I’m very happy to be here and everything is possible and we’re excited for tomorrow,” said Omollo.
For the Senegalese, it’s an all-out-war against the Kenyan side going by the remarks by their head coach Aliou Cisse who says he will not make sweeping changes, reminding his Kenyan counterpart to “concentrate on his team”.
Cisse said: “I realised that in the first 25 minutes of the game against Algeria we played well, according to plan, but Algeria scored a goal and managed to contain us.
“The referee was catastrophe and if I say certain things about the refereeing I’ll be suspended for life but we have to be true to ourselves.”
He went on: “There will be no revolution in the team. I believe in continuity. Regarding the Kenyan coach who was talking about the Senegalese players’ mentality, they just have to mind their own business.
“We have been at the World Cup and are the top ranked team but they just have to concentrate on their affairs,” he said. “We have no choice but to beat Kenya…obviously we have players who are injured but there are some who are coming into the squad.”
Migne however has positive news from the team doctors as he declared his squad fully fit and everyone available for selection.”If you watched our training session (yesterday night) then you should know that everyone is ready, is available,” he said, refusing to be drawn into divulging who could start at the back with centre-half Joash Onyango who missed the last two matches with an injury now available.
The Frenchman is likely to stick with the 4-4-2 formation with minor changes being ringed in defence. Aboud Omar could be a casualty as Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma, deployed as a left winger against Tanzania being shifted to left back while Timbe and Eric Johanna could claim the wings allowing Michael Olunga and John Avire to attack.
With his errors, Matasi Patrick is still expected to retain the gloves while Philemon Otieno could also reclaim the right back position after failing to feature against Tanzania. The midfield formation of Victor Wanyama and Omolo will however remain undisturbed but the elephant in the room is the centre-back role where Onyango, Joseph Okumu and vice-skipper Musa Mohamed will be competing for the two starting roles. Who will be the casualty?