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Okumbi likely to go for experience as Stars seek to extend unbeaten run

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IMAGE: Harambee Stars celebrate a goal in a past match. Okumbi is likely to go for experience in today's match against DRC as he seeks to make it ten unbeated | Image: courtesy
Harambee Stars celebrate a goal in a past match. Okumbi is likely to go for experience in today's match against DRC as he seeks to make it ten unbeated | Image: courtesy

Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi is likely to focus on experience when naming his starting XI against DR Congo later today, after opting for some untested names in the Thursday draw with Uganda. Okumbi popped a surprise when he entirely left out Victor Wanyama in Thursday’s squad.

The captain’s armband was given to Brian Mandela instead, while at the same time Patrick Matasi, Robinson Kamura and Samuel Onyango made their  senior debuts. Noah Wafula was only making his second appearance for Stars, having debuted in 2014.

Matasi is likely to make way for Bonny Oluoch in goal, as Okumbi seeks to extend the team’s unbeaten run to ten matches. Outfield, the other three are likely to make way for Wanyama, Kenneth Muguna and John Makwatta, who add strength and experience in the bid to replicate the 2016 result in Kinshasa, when Olunga’s strike gave The Stars a 1-0 win in another friendly.

It will be another task against the Leopards, who sit 38th in the FIFA World rankings, 50 places above the host side. The visitors will be keen to restore their pride, while Stars are well aware of the boost in rankings they could chalk from this.

The 2017 Afcon quarter finalists have a host of big names in their squad, includingCedric Bakambu of Villareal, Gael Kakuta of Deportivo La Coruna and Chancel Mbemba of Newcastle. All but three in their latest squad ply their trade in Europe. Yannick Bolasie, Diumerci Mbokani and Benik Afobe also turn out for DRC, but are not enlisted for this fixture.

The match will kick off at 3 pm at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos. Tickets go for Ksh. 100 (Terraces) and Ksh. 300 (Main Stand).

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