Stars eye Group B top spot with win over Zanzibar

By People Daily
Saturday, December 14th, 2019

Bandari’s forward Abdallah Hassan, who has had a blistering start to his international career with Harambee Stars, has exuded confidence in helping the team pip Zanzibar in their final Group B match to guarantee a top of the group finish at ongoing Council for East and Central Africa Football Association (Cecafa) at KCCA grounds here Saturday.

Since his inclusion to the team, the speedy forward’s contribution has been instrumental to the side as he has found the back of the net twice against Tanzania and Sudan.

Abdallah who is currently tied on the highest number of goals with Ugandan’s Allan Okello, who grabbed a brace in their match against Somalia, said he was optimistic of scoring more goals against Zanzibar to increase his chances of becoming the top scorer in the tournament.

“I want to thank the head coach Francis Kimanzi for giving me a chance in the national team and I believe before the end of the competition I will have proven myself to secure a permanent slot in the senior team for both the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and World Cup qualifiers. Saturday’s match against Zanzibar is not an easy one but we are prepared for them because our only focus is to return home with the trophy,” he said. He added: “If tasked with the mandate of hunting for goals I will deliver and I plan to score as many goals as possible especially in the first half in order to kill off the match early.”

Zanzibar have so far not won a single match in the competition, having played to 1-1 draw against Sudan in their opening clash before suffering a 1-0 defeat against their perennial rivals Tanzania in an a match that could have gone either way, making their final group match a must-win duel.

Zanzibar head coach Ali Hemed believes the match against Stars is a baptism by fire for them, saying they are a better side than in 2017 when they won the regional title after beating Zanzibar in the final. 

“We are going into the match knowing it is a very difficult one but nevertheless, we are ready for them and anything can happen,” said Hemed.

Stars assistant coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno, who will once again be on the touch line in place of suspended head coach Francis Kimanzi, said they see Zanzibar as worthy challengers but he expects nothing less than a win, to top the group to avoid tournament favourites Uganda at semi-finals.

“There is a lot of positivity within the players and I think they are ready to face any opponent that comes our way. I’m glad things are moving according to plan and we are taking one game at a time as we try to retain the trophy. We will try and rotate the players because with a tight- scheduled tournament like this you cannot afford to have tired legs,” said Otieno.

                         -Rodgers Ndegwa

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