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Stars shone like diamonds

Last week I wrote about Kenya being up against the world when it came to competing in football beyond our borders. My position hasn’t changed but things have certainly improved in the right direction.

I dedicate this blog to the Stars who, despite the drama and chaos in Lagos, went on to put up a great fight against the African champions.

Harambee Stars may not have dominated the game but it isn’t always the team that dominates that comes out shining. After Francis Kahata’s amazing free kick, the players did what they needed to do to keep the ferocious Nigerian attack at bay. Goalkeeper Arnold Origi, as usual, deserves praise but that’s why we put him there in the first place – because we know he will make fantastic saves throughout the game.

The Super Eagles equaliser hurt only because it was a sucker-punch. Had the goal come earlier or had Kenya been the team chasing the game for an equaliser, we would have loved that result. Isn’t every coach’s strategy to ensure that, at the very least, you draw away and aim for a win at home? Few critics gave us a chance, with one Nigerian player – Ahmed Musa - saying they were going to “beat Kenya silly”! Perhaps it was over-confidence that did them in but I’m just so proud of our team right now.

Unfortunately we “sold” our first two games to Malawi and Namibia so we still have an uphill battle to qualify. All teams still have nine points to play for but I’ll be realistic and say it will be tough qualifying for World Cup 2014 because of what the table looks like now. However, I see progress in what Amrouche is doing and we are certainly heading in the right direction.

Our federation should come up with a plan for the future – a plan that will see Amrouche lead Kenya to Afcon 2015 and then to World Cup 2018, if we don’t make it to Brazil.

Captain Dennis Oliech has promised that the Stars will complete the miracle when Nigeria comes to Kenya in June but I fear that this time Nigeria won’t be so over confident and will prepare for a possible upset. But then so will we.

For the time being though, against all odds, our Stars are shining bright like diamonds and I am so proud of them.

Next time, though, the organisation needs to be much better to ensure an even better result.

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