NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 27 – Harambee Stars Under-23 head coach Francis Kimanzi has asked the Football Kenya Federation to maintain the team even after their exit from the U23 African Cup of Nations qualifiers on Tuesday.
The team lost 2-0 on aggregate to Sudan to exit the AFCON qualification process, but Kimanzi believes with the immense potential in the team it should be maintained as a feeder for the senior national team.
“We are available if need be and also it depends on the program from the federation. If they have a program or matches they can play we can keep trying to make them better because they need more time together because as you know this is the first time we have such a team,” Kimanzi told Capital Sport.
He added; “They need more exposure with more test matches and tournaments they could get. We have important and special players there who we need to keep together.”
Kimanzi was handed over the reins in the team last year when they went on a tour of friendly matches in Uzbekistan winning one and drawing the other.
Meanwhile, Kimanzi looks back at the team’s exit from the run-in to the AFCON U23 and he admits his players were nervous and failed to keep their calm when it mattered the most.
The Emerging Stars needed to win the game by a margin of more than three goals to advance or at worse win 2-0 to force the game to penalties, something they failed to do.
“We had a lot of chances to knock in the net, but we have to accept the result. There is no replay and it is over for us. To open up the game you need to score. We had the opportunity to do that in the first half but we missed lots of chances,” a dejected Kimanzi said.
“You don’t deserve to go through if you can’t open up the game,”
We had a group of youngsters playing together and there is the urge to make things work and I thought we were too much in a hurry. For example Shambi (Ibrahim) was our best player but at times in every situation he wanted to hurry things up,”
“We were looking for goals but every time you have an opportunity and think it is now but sometimes it is too far,” Kimani further explained.
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