Kenya vs Zimbabwe: Can Harambee Stars withstand Warriors' mental might?


Kenya vs Zimbabwe: Can Harambee Stars withstand Warriors' mental might?

Festus Chuma 16:49 - 25.03.2024

Kenya national team head coach Engin Firat cautions against underestimating Zimbabwe in the Four Nations final.

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has issued a stark warning to his players regarding the dangers of underestimating Zimbabwe in the final of the Four Nations Tournament, which is set to take place on Wednesday afternoon.

This cautionary stance comes after Kenya showcased an impressive performance by securing a 4-0 victory over Malawi in the tournament's opening match, while Zimbabwe edged past Zambia with a 6-5 win in a penalty shootout following a dramatic 2-2 draw in regulation time.

Firat expressed his respect for Zimbabwe, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a strong defensive strategy against a team that demonstrated remarkable resilience and character by recovering from a 2-0 deficit against Zambia, a nation known for its footballing prowess in Africa.

"There's never a guarantee for it because every match has its own history or story, so therefore we will see tomorrow because we are facing a very good team. Zambia is a powerhouse in Africa with a great coach, and they were 2-0 behind and changed the result," Firat elaborated.

The Harambee Stars' coach further highlighted the mental fortitude of the Zimbabwean squad, which could pose a significant challenge for Kenya.

"We know we are facing not only qualities, we face also big character, and it will be a tough match for us. It means also for us to be mentally ready because we are facing a team which is mentally very strong," Firat added.

Despite the commanding win against Malawi, where Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga scored two early goals, including a penalty, Firat is wary of the potential for complacency.

He believes that the dramatic comeback by Zimbabwe could give them an edge in terms of motivation and belief.

"And it's even you know if you win 4-0 it makes maybe your team more relaxed than a team which come from 2-0 to 2-2 has more motivation, more beliefs maybe," Firat observed.

The gaffer emphased on the honor of representing one's country and the inherent motivation that should accompany it underscores his approach to fostering a team spirit and readiness, regardless of the opponent.

"Like always, I think for everybody it should be an honour to play for the national team, and I think that everybody should not need any extra motivation. It doesn't matter against whom you play, it's the national team," he concluded.

In the victory over Malawi, aside from Olunga's brace, Ayub Timbe Masika and John Avire also found the back of the net, rounding off a comprehensive win for the Harambee Stars.

Goalkeeper Patrick Mutsotsi Matasi also played a pivotal role by saving a penalty from Malawi's Lloyd Aaron highlighting Kenya's defensive strength.

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