After Harambee Stars were placed in group C of the CECAFA Senior challenge, pundits almost immediately branded it the group of death, with the other members being Malawi, Eritrea and Sudan.
True, it may be the tournament’s group of death but that is not all. Harambee Stars have just been presented with a chance to get back at the teams that have in the recent past been a thorn in their flesh.
This is not to infer that the Stars will only be playing for revenge, rather many other issues will be at stake here, such as national pride.
The Flames have in the past few games burnt down Harambee Stars ambitions with the most notable defeat being the 3-0 thrashing in Lilongwe on October 8, 2005 during the 2006 World Cup Qualifiers.
The latest defeat came almost a year ago on November 29 during the CECAFA tournament with Malawians beating Stars 3-2.
Those two defeats are just highlights of previous encounters between the two teams that badly dented the stars prospects.
However, Harambee Stars, being in the same group as the Malawians will seek to mete out the same punishment when the two meet in the CECAFA tournament later this year.
Eritrea’s home and away win over the Stars during the qualifying phase of the 2008 Nations Cup tournament bordered more on shame.
On paper, Harambee Stars looked the mightier but on the pitch Eritrea stepped up their game to defy all odds in both matches of the tie, although Arnold Origi’s inexplicable howler in the home game played a major part in the outcome of that tie.
The Eritreans won 1-0 in Asmara before a 2-1 triumph in Nairobi sealed the Stars’ fate.
They will be hoping for a repeat of the heroics though this time round Harambee Stars should be well prepared for them.
Sudan is the latest side from the group to have beaten the Stars, and the defeat was even made sour by the fact that it was in the Stars own backyard, in a packed Nyayo Stadium on June 25, 2011.
Sudan are clearly the strongest side that the Stars will face in the tournament, and the Stars would want to forget the memories of that rainy afternoon when many Kenyan hearts were broken.
By the time the last game is played in this group, Harambee Stars would be looking to have performed their revenge act against these teams.