How Stefano Cusin masterminded Harambee Stars' humiliation in Nairobi

Photo credit: Timothy Olobuly

FOOTBALL How Stefano Cusin masterminded Harambee Stars' humiliation in Nairobi

Mark Kinyanjui 05:00 - 15.09.2023

The Italian manager has revealed how he outclassed Kenya in South Sudan’s 1-0 win over the hosts at Kasarani Stadium on Tuesday.

South Sudan head coach Stefano Cusin has revealed how he masterminded their shock 1-0 victory over Harambee Stars in an international friendly match on Tuesday afternoon.

Tito Okello’s goal in the second minute was enough to give the Bright Stars a victory, shushing Kenyan fans and consigning them into booing their own team at full-time.

Speaking to the press afterwards, Cusin revealed the team talk he gave his side and how he tactically outwitted his counterpart Engin Firat into getting the victory.

“Of course. When we prepared for the game, we said before that you cannot survive in Nairobi for the entire game, we are not Real Madrid,” Cusin said.

“But we said, ‘guys, we want to try and play a game with personality’- ‘yes coach, okay, so, four or five times, we go very strong.”

Cusin has explained how he used his central defenders’ aerial advantages to good effect, as Kenya constantly played into their hands by whipping in floated crosses which the Bright Stars nonchalantly dealt with.

"The guy has the ball and all the possible situations. If you score in the first situation, you gain self-confidence so after, it is easier to play.

“Then of course, we have two central defenders who are very strong with the head. For us, it is better to push Kenya outside and let the opponent whip long balls because we knew our defenders were strong with the head.”

Cusin expected Kenya to have a lot of possession and ‘play football’ in front of their own fans, so he was happy to see his side sit deep and pay on the counterattack.

“That was our plan. This is the game I was expecting from Kenya, yes, this kind of game. I was expecting Kenya to play football of course because you have good players.

“If you play Qatar away it is one thing, but if you play in front of your fans at home, you must play football you cannot play deep and away through long balls.”

South Sudan will play Senegal and Mauritius in their opening two World Cup qualifying matches in November.