Former AFC Leopards coach Luc Eymael on what the current crop of Harambee Stars players lack

Former AFC Leopards coach Luc Eymael on what the current crop of Harambee Stars players lack

Mark Kinyanjui 09:16 - 17.06.2024

Eymael, who helped AFC Leopards win the FKF Cup in 2013, has revealed what the current Harambee Stars squad lacks compared to 10 years ago.

Former AFC Leopards coach Luc Eymael has shared his insights on the current state of the Harambee Stars, highlighting the differences between the squad he coached and today's team.

His comments come after Kenya recently drew against Ivory Coast, which ended in a 0-0 draw at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, Malawi, on June 11th.

This result marked the second consecutive draw for the Harambee Stars, following a 1-1 stalemate with Burundi. In contrast, Ivory Coast, the reigning 2023 AFCON champions, entered the match after a 1-0 victory over Gabon.

Eymael, who coached AFC Leopards in 2013 and led them to secure a CAF Confederation Cup slot in 2014, believes the current Harambee Stars team lacks the clinical edge once provided by former captain Dennis Oliech and former AFC Leopards star Allan Wanga. Both players were known for their reliability and proficiency in front of goal.

During the fixture against Ivory Coast, Kenya dominated the early exchanges but failed to capitalize on their chances. 

Michael Olunga and Timothy Ouma both missed opportunities to take the lead, with Olunga in particular struggling to receive enough chances to make a significant impact.

Speaking to Flashscore, Eymael emphasized the importance of having dependable goal scorers, which he feels Kenya currently lacks. 

"It is not easy to compare the past and the current team. The Kenyan league is not like it used to be before. It remains difficult to criticize or give an objective opinion on the level of current players compared to past players, but I think guys like former strikers Dennis (Oliech) and Allan (Wanga) are being missed in Kenya," he said.

Oliech became his nation's second all-time goalscorer, behind William "Chege" Ouma (35 goals), with 34 goals before retiring from international football in 2016.

Wanga on the other hand, managed to score 22 goals in 44 caps for the Harambee Stars before calling time on his career with the side in 2019.

Eymael also defended current coach Engin Firat's selection strategy, particularly regarding the inclusion of locally-based players.

 Firat has previously expressed concerns about the lack of professional players in the national pool. Eymael noted that the style of play must adapt based on the coach's vision and the opponent, making it challenging to draw direct comparisons between different eras of the team.

“The way of playing depends on the vision of the coach. You cannot play the same way against Ivory Coast as you would against Eswatini, for example. It is a matter of keeping your vision of playing intact, and it is difficult to compare the past and current team,” Eymael explained.

As Kenya continues its campaign, the challenge remains to find and develop strikers who can fill the void left by legends like Oliech and Wanga, ensuring the Harambee Stars can convert their dominance in matches into victories.

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