REVEALED: How Harambee Stars plan to shake things up tactically for Ivory Coast encounter

REVEALED: How Harambee Stars plan to shake things up tactically for Ivory Coast encounter

Mark Kinyanjui 11:50 - 10.06.2024

Harambee Stars have been working on some significant tactical changes in training ahead of their match against Ivory Coast on Tuesday.

Harambee Stars have been tweaking their tactical blueprint in training as they prepare for a monumental clash against Ivory Coast on Tuesday afternoon.

Stars were held to a 1-1 draw by Burundi on Friday and have faced a myriad of challenges since jetting out to Malawi last Sunday.

First, some of their key players were rendered not fit enough to take part in any of the matches, including Erick ‘Marcelo’ Ouma and Joseph Okumu - the latter who looked like he would make it, but ultimately failing to pass a late fitness test.

Second, other players, including Tobias Knost and Zak Vyner, could not get their documentation processed in time, and the latter had to fly back to the UK on Sunday morning following the failure to have his Kenyan passport ready in time.

Coach Engin Firat has already been forced to draft in four replacements, namely Sofapaka’s Baron Ochieng, Malawi-based former Tusker defender Clyde Senaji and Kenya Police pair of David 'Cheche' Ochieng and David Okoth. It remains to be seen whether they could play a part in the match against the reigning African champions.

In the meantime, Pulse Sports understands that Stars have been setting up in a 3-5-2 formation in training as they prepare for the monumental Ivory Coast test.

A source, privy to the goings on, believes Firat is considering that formation to mirror the Ivorians, given Emerse Fae's side also set up with a three at the back in 3-5-2.

“The team had a full tactical training on Sunday morning and played 5-3-2 formation,” the source, who sought anonymity, told Pulse Sports.

“The tactical change is endeavoured in thwarting the Ivory Coast's attacking prowess especially when they play with two forwards upfront.”

The formation change comes as no surprise considering Firat has been hinting at wanting to change it for a while with the plan being to try and play to the strengths of some of his best players, including Marcelo.

It will not the first time for Firat to start with a back three, as his first ever match in charge of Kenya against Mali saw Harambee Stars line up in a 3-5-2 formation but it ended in a 5-0 defeat.

At the time, it would have been understandable, considering the fact that they had never used that formation before, and the coach did not know the strengths of the players he had considering he was very new in the job.

Pulse Sports had earlier written an analytical report explaining why switching to a back three makes sense for Kenya.

How Harambee Stars are likely to line up:

Patrick Matasi is likely to keep his place in goal. Collins Sichenje may have to come in as one of the centre-backs, supporting Daniel Anyembe and Johnstone Omurwa.

Firat will likely stick to his preferred midfield pivot of Teddy Akumu and Richard Odada. Kenneth Muguna is likely to be the spare man, while up top, we might see Michael Olunga partnered by John Avire, with both strikers repeating their link-up from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

This means Aboud Omar and Rooney Onyango will be playing as wing backs, with Timothy Ouma and Clifton Miheso dropping to the bench, even though the former had a good game against Burundi before being taken off after the hour mark.

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