Ivory Coast coach Fae worried about Harambee Stars threat

Tuesday, June 11th, 2024 00:45 | By
Ivory Coast head coach Emerse Fae. PHOTO/CAFOnline
Ivory Coast head coach Emerse Fae. PHOTO/CAFOnline

The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations winning coach Emerse Fae has expressed his worry on the threat the Harambee Stars pose for his side Ivory Coast ahead of their crunch tie this afternoon at the Bingu Stadium in Lilongwe.

Despite the bookmarkers giving The Elephants an upper hand against Kenya, coach Fae (pictured) who led Ivory Coast to their third title on home soil says his team will need to be extra focused against Harambee Stars with great keenness thrown at Captain Michael Olunga.

“Kenya is a good team. It has a good striker, Michael Olunga, who is a great player with the ability to play in different formations. Kenya is a team difficult to play against, and we know they are working hard to be the first team to beat the African champions. We are for sure prepared to face a tough opposition,”said Fae.

The 40-year-old tactician further noted that these days there is no huge gap or difference between the teams in reference to the Harambee Stars challenge.

He observed: “Today in Africa there is no big team or small team; any team can beat any opponent, and therefore we need to be focused against Kenya.”

He noted that his team is under pressure to deliver a world cup qualification having missed the last two editions in Russia and Qatar respectively.

“For sure, the pressure is there when you are a football manager. This is normal when you are working for a very demanding team like this. As a team, we have two objectives at this moment. The first one is to go to the World Cup because Ivory Coast missed the last two editions and the second goal is to qualify to the African Cup of Nations in Morocco.”

Meanwhile, Liberia secured a crucial 1-0 victory over Sao Tome and Principe on Sunday in Group H of their 2026 World Cup qualifier, courtesy of a late goal by Sheikh Sesay.

In the first match of Matchday 4 of the qualifiers, the win moves the Lone Star to third in the group with seven points, while Sao Tome and Principe remain at the bottom without any points after four matches.

The first half saw both teams struggle to find a breakthrough, with few clear-cut chances created. Sao Tome and Principe’s Denilson Silva was booked for a foul just before halftime, which ended goalless.

The second half continued similarly, with Liberia making several substitutions to inject fresh energy into their side.

Peter Wilson and William Gibson were brought on early in the half to replace Lawrence Kumeh and Sheku Sheriff, respectively.

As the match progressed, it seemed destined for a draw, with both teams battling hard but unable to convert their efforts into goals.

Sao Tome and Principe also made several substitutions, bringing on Eba Viegas and João Silva to replace Rogério Fernandes and Mauro Vilhete.

In the 89th minute, Sao Tome and Principe’s João Silva received a yellow card for a foul, highlighting the physical nature of the contest.

Liberia then made a decisive change, bringing on Sheikh Sesay for Terry Sackor.

The substitution proved to be a masterstroke. In the 90th minute, Sesay found himself in the right place at the right time, slotting a right-footed shot from the center of the box into the goal, giving Liberia a dramatic late lead.

Despite a late push from Sao Tome and Principe, Liberia held on to secure the three points.

This victory propels Liberia to third place in Group H, ahead of their next match, while Sao Tome and Principe will need to regroup after another disappointing result.

Second-placed Namibia will host group leaders Tunisia later on Sunday in a top-of-the-table clash, while Equatorial Guinea and Malawi are set to face off in the other Group H match on Monday.

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