Situma on how Kenya Under18 players can bring success to Harambee Stars

FOOTBALL Situma on how Kenya Under18 players can bring success to Harambee Stars

Mark Kinyanjui 20:25 - 20.12.2023

The former Harambee Stars defender has revealed how Junior Stars can achieve success in future tournaments despite losing to Uganda in the final of the CECAFA U18 tournament.

Former Harambee Stars defender James Situma has advocated for the Junior Stars side that reached the final of the CECAFA U18 Championship to keep playing together for a long time.

Situma, who played for some of the best Premier League sides back in his heydays, believes that the players playing together longer will boost their chances of doing well in future competitions, such as the CECAFA U20 tournament which serves as a pathway for the U20 Africa Cup of Nations, as well as the FIFA U20 World Cup.

The Kenya Footballers’ Welfare Association (KEFWA) president believes that the players did well to get to the final of the competition considering there was little time to prepare the setup.

“If you look at the little time we had to prepare for the tournament and play, I think it was a good chance to show our ability to play at a high level in the U18s,” Situma said.

“We have talents and players who played at a high level and got to a final which of course is always a gamble. 

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“Playing in front of your own fans requires you to have character and I had predicted we would do well because we always perform at CECAFA competitions and I think it goes with age.”

Situma believes that pressure to win the final may have gotten into the minds of the players which prevented them from doing well, but most prospects could be a handful for more senior sides, including Harambee Stars in the future.

“They are young boys and maybe the pressure of wanting to be champions at home affected them but for me, they did well and it showed that they have talent and we have a good chance of getting them into the senior side.

“Apart from this structure, we need to find ways of how they will play together for a long time in order to stand a better chance of winning in future competitions.”

Situma started his career at Nzoia Sugar before having a crack at Nairobi City Stars, Sofapaka, Tusker and AFC Leopards. He also had a stint abroad playing for Albania’s KF Tirana.