Mathare United boss Salim Ali has paid tribute to the quarter who were called to the national team to represent Harambee Stars in the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda.
Andrew Juma, Kevin Kimani, Roy Okal and David Owino are the players to have made the final 20-man squad for the regional tournament that is set to start on Saturday. And Ali paid a glowing tribute to the four players as the national team coach Francis Kimanzi.
"I am not surprised that the four players have made the squad. They totally deserve the call-ups and as a coach, I am proud because it as well highlights the work we are doing here as a group," Salim said.
"Three of them except for Okal have been in and around the national team and it is not a huge challenge for them. And also, having a coach who knows them as well as Kimanzi will help them in settling down. They are all technically gifted with varying qualities. For example, Juma is a unique player as he is a left-footed central defender while Kimani brings the experience as well as the fact that he can plug-in several holes in midfield as well as in attack."
Kimanzi had the four players as head coach of the club up until last season where he took up the national team job and Salim who served as his assistant believes that Kimanzi has all the qualities needed to bring out the best in the players and possibly claim Kenya’s eighth regional crown.
“There is no local coach more worthy of leading the national team than Kimanzi. He is the best man for the job. He knows every single player in that squad on a personal level and knows exactly what they can offer.
“There has been an uproar over the years about the national team in regards to the results. It hasn’t been easy but I know if we all support the team then Kimanzi is the best man to restore the country’s faith in the team,” he said.
The national team has been placed in Group B alongside Sudan, Zanzibar, and Tanzania and will kick off their tournament against the latter on Sunday in Kampala.
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