Kenya striker Dennis Oliech insists his side are full of confidence ahead of their 2014 FIFA World Cup™ preliminary qualification game against the Seychelles even though they failed to make it to next year's CAF Africa Cup of Nations. The Harambee Stars will take part in the continental preliminaries along with almost half of the 52 African hopefuls for the 2014 finals in Brazil.
Oliech, who plays for French Ligue 1 side Auxerre, believes Kenya will be able to turn their fortunes around against the Seychelles under the returning coach Francis Kimanzi. "This match gives us a chance to start afresh and we all must take it seriously by getting positive results," the striker told the Kenya Standard. "We have to win it and prove that we are a serious team because losing to the Seychelles is unimaginable at this point."
However, Kenya have been dealt a blow before the game with Real Sociedad midfielder MacDonald Mariga having been ruled out with a thumb injury. "It is a big blow to miss a player of Mariga's calibre considering what he has done for the team," Oliech continued. "For me this is reason enough for us to win so that by the time he comes back we are on a positive curve."
The 26-year-old also backed Kimanzi to change the fortunes of Kenya after their Nations Cup disappointment. "Francis Kimanzi is a wonderful coach who understands his work," Oliech added. "I have worked with him previously and we were all disappointed at the manner he left the team especially considering that we were headed for better things. It is good that he is back so that we can start from where we left (off)."
Former FIFA World Cup finalists Togo and the Democratic Republic of Congo will begin their qualification campaign alongside the continent's minnows tomorrow. The tiny island archipelago of Sao Tome e Principe will play their first game since their 8-0 defeat by Libya in the 2006 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign when they face Congo.
Djibouti play Namibia, Equatorial Guinea face Madagascar and Swaziland will host DR Congo who have charismatic French coach Claude Leroy back at the helm. Comoros play Mozambique, Eritrea will take on Rwanda while Chad host Tanzania and Togo travel to Guinea-Bissau. Lesotho host Burundi and Somalia play Ethiopia in the only game on Saturday.