Football Kenya Limited technical director Patrick Naggi has defended the decision by the company to pick South Africa over Zambia to play in an international friendly on Wednesday, according to the Standard Newspaper of Kenya.
“South Africa played in the World Cup. They are a high profile team. They are a big catch for us and it will be an honour playing them,” Naggi said on Saturday.
FKL accepted an all-expense paid for trip to Johannesburg to face Bafana Bafana on the same day Harambee Stars Management Board arranged a friendly against Chipolopolo in Nairobi.
“The board should have mentioned the arrangements earlier. Arranging friendly matches is within the ambit of federations. We thus felt travelling to play at Soccer City was a bigger motivation for the boys,” Naggi said.
He added: “It will be a high profile game for the boys and they will get good exposure. We have more to gain from playing South Africa than playing Zambia.
“South Africa played at the World Cup and they gave a good account of themselves. Harambee Stars will be highly motivated playing against such a team.”
South Africa coach, Pitso Mosimane, on Thursday named a strong squad to face Kenya which included Tottenham Hotspur duo of Bongani Khumalo and Portsmouth Aaron Mokoena.
Kenya also named a full strength team on Thursday under coach Zedekiah Otieno. Local-based players fly out tomorrow for South Africa where they will link up with the European based professionals.
Head of the Kenyan delegation, Hussein Swaleh, said he was not sure of where the match will be played though the South African media have mentioned Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg as the venue.
Zambia, who have now secured a friendly away to Swaziland, have meanwhile bitterly protested Kenya’s handling of the friendlies.