Harambee Stars predicted XI vs Iran: Firat to start Scriven, drop Omar

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FOOTBALL Harambee Stars predicted XI vs Iran: Firat to start Scriven, drop Omar

Kiplagat Sang • 09:45 - 27.03.2023

Pulse Sports predicts Kenya's line up ahead of the first international engagement since the suspension was lifted.

As Engin Firat prepares Harambee Stars to face Iran, fans are scratching their heads trying to figure out who the coach might have in his starting XI.

After naming his final squad, the picture became clearer, and the usual starters might retain their places after making it to the travelling team.

As the coach has insisted, results are not his priority for now, and his focus is on building a strong team for the future. Might this convince him to start a younger squad and drop the more experienced stars?

Just as his decision to drop in-form Football Kenya Federation Premier League current top scorer, Benson Omala generated an intense debate, his starting XI is expected to open another front for a prolonged debate by fans and pundits alike.

Firat’s decision on who to pick to start against Iran is expected to be influenced by the caliber of the Iranian players. Going for a packed midfield instead of a three-pronged attack – in order to frustrate the Iranians in the middle of the pack -  could be a viable formation.

So what is Firat’s predicted XI? Pulse Sports drafts how Harambee Stars could therefore line up against the 2022 World Cup participants.

In goal, Police FC’s Patrick Matasi is expected to be picked ahead of Ian Otieno and Bryne Odhiambo.

Unlike Otieno – who has somewhat fell down the pecking order at Zesco United, Matasi has enjoyed first team duties on a consistent basis, especially with Tusker before the Police move.

His experience is also expected to give him an upper hand and a competitive edge over his rivals.

In the defense line, Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma and Daniel Anyembe are expected to be deployed as fullbacks, while Joseph Okumu and Brian Mandela will be the centre-backs.

In the midfield, Firat predictably will name Richard Odada and Anthony Akumu as his deep-lying midfielders, and the two are expected to offer the much-needed cushion for the centre-backs.

In the advanced midfield position, Kenneth Muguna and Wilkims Ochieng are expected to be preferred.

Alfred Scriven, whose inclusion in the final squad raised eyebrows, is expected to be drafted to operate behind the main striker.

Michael Olunga, given his experience and propensity to score goals, will lead Kenya’s attacking line in Tehran.

Being the captain, Olunga carries the hopes of the nation on his shoulders.

Harambee Stars predicted starting XI vs Iran: Patrick Matasi, Daniel Anyembe, Eric ‘Marcello’ Ouma, Joseph Okumu, Brian Mandela, Richard Odada, Teddy Akumu, Kenneth Muguna, Wilkims Ochieng, Alfred Scriven, and Michael Olunga.