Some football enthusiasts on Friday urged the Leone Stars team to ensure victory over the Harambee Stars of Kenya in the first leg Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Siaka Steven Stadium on Saturday, June 10 in Freetown.
Leone Stars played to a goalless draw against Ivory Coast in September 2016 in the final 2017 Afcon qualifying match in the process failing to qualify for the continental showpiece in 21 years with a record of 11 times of trying.
However, fans who are eager to see the team make it to Cameroon 2019 told the country’s fastest growing football website (footballsierraleone.net) in an exclusive interview on social media; Facebook and WhatsApp that while hopes are not lost, a lot of work needed to be done to ensure victory.
James Kanu, a student, told FSL that he had confidence in the ability of the team to qualify if newly appointed coach John Keister selected the right players.
“The Kenya team is a very serious team – they have not lost in their last ten international matches under coach Stanley Okumbi. This game is a stepper to our progress, a must-win game but we need to be very careful in our defence.
“The attack should be led by Kei Kamara, who recently scored 100 MLS career goals and was the scorer against Ivory Coast in Bourke last September. I have confidence Kei can deliver,’’ Kanu passionately said.
Ibrahim Jalloh, who claimed is a diehard supporter of local club East End Lions, said the team must this time live up to expectation in scoring goals. They must take their chances and therefore also urged them to be careful as the Kenyans are no pushovers.
“The team must start scoring goals at home, we have always struggled to score at home, they also have to be very careful with the heights threat of the Kenyans,” Jalloh warned.
Sullah Kaikai, a trader, told this medium, “We’re lucky to start our campaign at home, we the fans must turn out in thousands in support of our national team. No excuses this time we have to win and start brighter in this group if we going to have any chance to make Cameroon 2019,” Kaikai explained.
Meanwhile, the East African nation who will be lead out of the dugout by their Tottenham Hotspur anchorman, Victor Wanyama on Saturday have played three international friendlies before heading to Freetown.
They recently played Uganda to a 1-1 draw on March 23, defeated DRC 2-1 three days later and held Malawi to a goalless in April. All three friendly was part of their preparations for the 2019 Nations Cup qualifiers.
The two nations will be without a couple of players for Saturday’s showdown, Kenya will be without Zesco United forward Jesse Were who was the latest to join Belgium-based Royal Antwerp midfielder Johanna Omollo and Bulgaria based defender Abud Omar on the sideline.
While Leone Stars will have to do without both the tough and pacey Partick Thistle right-back, Mustapha Dumbuya who was “immensely disappointed” when confirming he will not be part of the Keister’s side and D.C. United striker, Alhaji Kamara.
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