CAIRO, Egypt, Jun 24 – Harambee Stars head coach Sebastien Migne has lamented the team’s first half performance in their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) opening match against Algeria at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo on Sunday night.
Stars let the Desert Foxes walk all over them in the opening half but were an improved side in the second period of the game though they couldn’t get a goal for their efforts.
“I think today the step was too high for us. We missed experience and in this kind of tournament you need experience. We were afraid to play. I can accept to lose but not to lose like we played in the first half,”
“I didn’t recognize my team at the beginning. I knew it will not be easy to be comfortable in this tournament, but I would like to congrats Djamel (Belmadi) because his team is really good in all departments and I think he will not be far to fight for the title,” Migne said after the match.
“We had too much pressure today. If you are afraid, it is not possible to sustain at this level. It is the main lesson we have to pick, at least to play,” Migne added.
Changes in the second half to bring on Eric Ouma for Francis Kahata and Johannah Omollo proved decisive for Kenya as they took the game more to the Algerian half.
The loss now leaves Kenya with a mountain to climb in their quest for a last 16 place as they have to pick at least four points off the remaining two games to stand a realistic chance, in the least of being one of the best four third placed teams.
Stars face Tanzania in their next match next Thursday with the fellow East Africans coming into the game under the same circumstance having lost by a similar margin to Senegal, one of the tournament’s favorites in their opening game.
“It will be another game against an opponent maybe at the same level. This is the reality. Against Tanzania it will be necessary to play, to have the ball more and to try to play more to them,”
“We need to be positive. We have won only one game in the AFCON as Kenya and it was without a stake. Now we have a game with stake and we have to go and try to win. If we win, then everything will be possible for Senegal. It will not be easy (against Tanzania) but maybe easier than Algeria,” Migne further stated.
Meanwhile, he expects defender Joash Onyango to be back in contention for a starting place having missed the opening game due to an ankle injury he picked up in training on the eve of the Algeria tie.
The tactician also bemoaned the absence of Brian Mandela whom he described as a leader in defense and whose absence he said was felt in the team.
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