Published: September 07, 2019
Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-07 20:26:48|Editor: Yurou
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NAIROBI, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Love will be immaterial as regional rivals Kenya challenge Uganda in an international friendly match in Nairobi on Sunday.
Despite Kenya missing the service of influential Tottenham midfielder and team captain Victor Wanyama, Ugandan head coach Abdallah Mubiru believes that his replacement striker Michael Olunga will trouble his side.
Speaking in Nairobi on Saturday, Mubiru called for caution.
Both teams are using the international friendly to prepare for the start of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers. Kenya faces Comoros, Egypt and Togo with the best two going through.
"Kenya has Olunga, a very good striker. A good finisher for the team. But it is not just about one player, Kenya has a good team and we respect them but of course we don't fear them," Mubiru said on Saturday in Nairobi.
Though the game is of importance to both sides, Uganda defender Mustafa Kizza said the Uganda Cranes are under no pressure to prove their mental.
"Certainly we want to win, but we are under no pressure going into the game especially that we are playing away from home," Kizza said. "We are just focused on giving a good account of ourselves."
Olunga, who works for Kashiwa Reysol in the Japanese league, has been sharp as of late, netting 14 goals so far this season.
"I started the pre-season with Reysol this time and I have fully adapted now. I have been working very hard to sharpen my weaknesses and I believe that is what has propelled me to the form I am currently enjoying," said Olunga.
Irrespective of the outcome, Olunga has called on patience as head coach Francis Kimanzi takes over his first official match after Frenchman Sebastian Migne walked away.
"There's no clear favorite in football nowadays. We saw Madagascar, Burundi, Benin and other countries previously referred as minnows doing fairly well at 2019 AFCON so I believe if we focus as a team and limit mistakes then we will be on course to going back to Afcon in 2021," said Olunga.
Kenya will have another friendly match, said to be in Tripoli against Libya, before starting their AFCON campaign.
"Our preparations are going on well and we will be ready to face Egypt in the first qualifier," said Olunga. source