Former Harambee Stars captain Musa Otieno explains why Kenya struggled against Burundi

Former Harambee Stars captain Musa Otieno explains why Kenya struggled against Burundi

Mark Kinyanjui 14:33 - 08.06.2024

The former AFC Leopards and Harambee Stars defender has opined what went wrong for Kenya during their 1-1 draw against Burundi on Friday.

Former Harambee Stars captain Musa Otieno has expressed strong dissatisfaction with Kenya's lackluster performance against Burundi in their third Group F match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. 

The match, held at the Bingu National Stadium in Malawi on Friday, saw the Harambee Stars struggle to break down a resolute Burundi side, ultimately securing only a single point from the game. 

This result leaves Kenya facing a daunting challenge ahead of their next match against Ivory Coast on Tuesday, where a victory is crucial to keep their qualification hopes alive.

In his post-match analysis for KBC, Otieno highlighted Kenya’s recurring issues when facing teams that adopt a compact, defensive approach.

He drew comparisons to their 1-0 defeat to South Sudan in an international friendly last September, emphasizing the team's persistent difficulties.

“It seems like we struggle against sides that are more compact,” Otieno remarked. “If you look at the game we played against South Sudan, it was similar. No movement off the ball, mispasses at this level. We need to up our game.”

Otieno acknowledged the positive contributions of players like Austin Odhiambo and Duke Abuya, whose creativity added a much-needed spark. However, he raised concerns about the team's frequent mispasses and inability to capitalize on set pieces.

“You look at the substitutions that were made (Austin Odhiambo and Duke Abuya) and that is the only time the runs were made. That is the situation we need to see in the national team moving forward," he stated.

“When Muguna was playing as a 10, we were pulling back a bit, but when Odada was subbed on, we started putting a lot of pressure. The big concern is the set pieces.”

Reflecting on past successes, Otieno reminisced about Kenya's 3-1 victory over Algeria during his playing days, attributing the win to their effective use of set-pieces. He criticized the current team for failing to leverage their aerial advantage, particularly in their recent match against Egypt.

“There was a time we beat Algeria 3-1 and set-pieces were our key points because those are things that got us opportunities,” Otieno recalled.

“These are things that should be done every day, and not just the last day. The executions, and the timing of the runs were off. We used our height because we knew any time we had a corner or set-piece, it was our chance to shine.”

As Kenya prepares for their crucial match against Ivory Coast, Otieno's analysis underscores the need for the Harambee Stars to improve their tactical approach and capitalize on their strengths to enhance their chances of qualification.

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