Saddened Olunga explains how Harambee Stars will cope with playing home matches in Malawi

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Saddened Olunga explains how Harambee Stars will cope with playing home matches in Malawi

Joel Omotto 12:42 - 31.05.2024

Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga has explained how he feels the players will contend with hosting Burundi and Ivory Coast in Malawi while expressing sadness over the situation.

Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga has expressed his disappointment that the national team will not be able to play their home World Cup qualifiers in Kenya.

Kenya will have to host both Burundi and Ivory Coast in Malawi for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers next month owing to lack of an approved stadium and Olunga feels the players will not enjoy the support of the fans, having not played at home regularly in the last one year.

“It is a very sad state that we cannot play here at home after we have seen Nyayo Stadium closed for two-three years for renovation but still we cannot secure to play here,” Olunga told the media on Friday.

“It is a big disadvantage because when you play away, like we played with Gabon, their fans played a key role when they were trailing so this is the kind of advantage that we are going to lose because Kenyans are hungry to see Harambee Stars playing at home in an official game.

“I just like to the Ministry of Sports and government to secure these surfaces that meet CAF standards so that the next qualifiers we do not repeat the same mistakes. We want people to enjoy the national team back at home.”

With Harambee Stars playing at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe during the Four-Nations tournament in March, Olunga is drawing hope from the fact that the players will be returning to a familiar ground, while he feels none of the three teams will be at a disadvantage.

“It is unfortunate but we are going to Malawi, a much more familiar territory, and we are going to give it our best because we are synched for the two games,” he added.

“We would have loved to have our fans because we have been playing well out there but it is by bad luck we cannot play at home but nowadays anywhere is home and the players are good and they will push us.

“It will not be a major disadvantage because all teams will play like they are away. It is good we know the pitch, temperature, so it is like one step ahead.”

Kenya will face Burundi on June 7 before a clash with African champions Ivory Coast four days later.

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