The journey to the 2010 World cup for Kenya’s Harambee began to take shape in earnest with two home wins and an impressive 0-0 away draw against Zimbabwe in Harare (I know, its amazing how given the situation poorly the situation is over there such a high profile global organisation such as FIFA continues to function unabated, but that is another topic for some other blue eyed idealist Joe Blogger to cry about). Anyway after the now near ritualistic dispute over who is really in charge of the KFF and therefore the Harambee Stars, yep after the court order and appeals and the ominous threat of yet another FIFA ban and appeals were gotten out of the way the FIFA approved lot got their way and the campaign finally got away with Mathare United custodian Francis Kimanzi taking up the hot seat and with it the hopes of the uniquely fickle yet fiercely patriotic football fans.
The first assignment, an away match against an improving Namibia side, resulted in last minute heartbreak as the Stars went down 2-1. fortunately or unfortunately Mr Kimanzi only ahd the one week to turn things around l with the doom mongers already starting to surface before the second match at home against group favourites Guinea. The result, a highly reasuring and confident display of counter attacking football and a 2-0 win featuring goals from Auxerre based striker Denis Oliech. That and of course the issues of poor crowd control that have become sadly a common feature with important football matches at Nyayo stadium.
Having got the issue of that first win under new management out of the way the Stars then looked to build up some momentum with another positive result in the first of two matches against Zimbabwe (the second as stated earlier ending in a goal less stalemate in Harare). The result again another impressive looking 2-0 win with the Harambee Stars again showing the sort of free flowing football that has put Mathare United (Francis Kimanzi’s other team) in the driver’s seat in the Premier league.
So now the Harambee Stars sit joint top with Guinea at the top of group 2 on 7 points with matches against Guinea in Conakry and Namibia in Nairobi left and needing only to finish as one of 8 best runners up to make it to round three of the qualifiers their destiny is very much in theri own hands. A home win against Namibia and a draw in Conakry should just about secure qualification though a win against Guinea would see Kenya win their group.