By: SETH OLALE
Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson has blamed the team’s elimination from the 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifiers on fatigue.
Stars exited this competition following a 2-0 loss to Cape Verde’s Blue Sharks at a fully-packed Estadio de Nacional de Cabo on Tuesday night.
This outcome erased Kenya’s 1-0 advantage from the first leg on Friday, and translated to a 2-1 aggregate result in favour of the Atlantic Ocean Islanders, who will now be part of the 20 teams set to be drawn into groups for the final phase of the qualifiers.
“We are all disappointed with this result. We took longer to settle but improved in the second period. The substitutions were positive but (Jacob) Keli missed a great chance. We must now focus ahead,” Williamson told Daily Nation Sport in Praia.
Williamson’s comments were no surprise, considering the team’s daring 22-hour journey from Nairobi to Praia which started at Wilson Airport on Monday night.
Moments after boarding the plane, all those on board were informed the chartered plane – a 50-seater propeller jet – would first have to fly for some 656km to refuel in Entebbe, Uganda.
This move was followed by a 3000km journey to Kano City, Nigeria, which lasted seven hours where another 30-minute refuelling stopover took place. Another fuelling touchdown went on at Senegal’s capital Dakar some 2800km from Kano, nine hours later.
The flight crew explained that the delay in leaving Nairobi forced them to seek permission from different countries to use alternative routes but in vain. They also explained a decision was made to use a longer route to Praia as a “safety precaution”.
In between, the players – who had fed on snacks all through – had time to stretch and jog on the airport runways. Thereafter, this contingent completed a 45-minute journey to Praia, where the plane touched down three hours before the match.
Upon arrival, the team quickly rushed to the hotel, had their first meal in 21 hours before heading to the stadium for the match.
Meanwhile, FKF has defended its handling of Harambee Stars preparations and travel arrangements in the run up to the match saying it is the Ministry of Sports which took ages to facilitate the budget for the team.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION