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Olunga: Ethiopia is beatable

Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga has called for focus ahead of Saturday’s African Nations Championships return leg match against Ethiopia at the Nyayo National Stadium.

The Kenyan team need to win the match by three clear goals to progress to the next round of the qualifiers following a 2-0 loss in the first leg fixture a fortnight ago.

But Olunga believes its not a lost course and that the team is more than capable of turning the tables on Ethiopia.

“We have the advantage of having played away from home, and so we have a better understanding of the opponent. They have weaknesses which can exploited and if we focus, we can be able to overturn the result,” Olunga said.

Olunga also called upon fans to turn up in large numbers and support the team, saying that the presence of the 12th man plays a significant role in the outcome of the match.

Olunga, who has scored 11 goals for Gor Mahia in the league this season, is expected to lead Harambee Stars attack with support from Tusker striker Jesse Were.

The team will be captained by Gor Mahia midfielder Collins “Gattusso” Okoth, while his team mate Boniface Oluoch should retain his place between the sticks.

‘COLD RECEPTION’

Defense has been a thorny matter for the national team in their last three outings and in a bid to fix the problem, coach Williamson included Thika United skipper Dennis Odhiambo.

Odhiambo could start in left full back position at the expense of Aboud Omar, as Edwin Wafula and Lloyd Wahome provide further cover for the goalkeeper.

Referees from Comoros Ali Mohammed Adelaid (centre), Soulaimane Amaladine (first assistant), Hamadi Houssein Ibrahim (2nd assistant) and Noiret Bacari (reserve referee) will take charge of the match, with Kayijuka Gaspard from Rwanda being the Match Commissioner for the day.

The Ethiopian delegation arrived in the country on Thursday afternoon, and during their training session, coach Yohannes Sahle lamented the “cold reception” accorded to them by the local federation.

“We expected better treatment but the reception we got wasn’t the best. We shall however remain focused and play for a win,” he said.

Tickets for the match will be sold at the venue for Sh 500 (VIP) and Sh 200 (terraces).

The retail outlets are at Riadha House, Nyayo Stadium Police Post, Kenya Cinema and City Stadium. The stadium gates will open to the public on Saturday at 11am.