What you need to know:
- Harambee Stars in tourney’s Pool C.
- Afcon-bound Harambee Stars line-up two friendly matches in France against Madagascar and the Gambia
The national team Harambee Stars will play two friendly matches on June 7 and 15 ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) that kicks off on June 21 in Egypt, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has revealed.
Mwendwa said that the two matches will be staged in Paris, France where the team will pitch a 19-day camp from May 31.
“The coach (Sebastien Migne) requested for only two friendly matches so that he can have an ample time with the players ahead of the tournament,” said Mwendwa on Friday.
Kenya are pooled in group ‘C’ alongside Algeria, Tanzania and Senegal. They will play the northern Africa nation in the opening fixture on June 23 at the 30 June stadium, Cairo before facing Tanzania on June 27 and Senegal on July 1.
“Remember he hasn’t been with the players for more than a week in camp and this will be the opportune time to fine-tune his squad as we look forward to appear at the continental showpiece after 15 years of asking,” he added whilst confirming the bookings for the camp having received Sh219 million from the government through the ministry of sports early this month.
“We are in the processing of finalising contracts with the two nations we plan to play, possibly Madagascar and Gambia," offered Mwendwa revealing that they turned down friendly matches from several countries including Tunisia.
“Tunisia wanted us to play them in Tunis on June 17 but the coach proposed only two friendly matches that must be played on June 7 and 15 so that he can maximise the two days to assess his players before naming the final 23.
“Once he names his provisional squad, each player will be entitled to Sh250,000 in camping allowances and Sh500,000 for those who will make it to the final 23-man squad and other lucrative bonuses depending on the results in Cairo,” he noted.
Meanwhile, FKF is set to receive Sh26 million from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) for Afcon preps.
The money – that will be received by other 23 participating nations - will hit FKF accounts next week.
“It’s a boost because it has been a while Kenya enjoyed such favours for qualifying for such a football bonanza, we are also motivated to progress to the later stages that comes with higher packages,” said Mwendwa.
In a related development, Mwendwa hailed the youth set-up progress whilst tipping at the possibilities of qualifying for the 2026 World Cup in the United States.
“The youth structure is our only solution to having a better first team, we now have the U13, U15 and U17 which are our conveyor belt and we are already exposing the boys to international experience as early as this," he outlined referring to the U15 and U17 teams that recently featured in invitational tournaments in Spain and Egypt respectively.
“We will continue to strengthen our centres of excellence with annual recruitment because we need to qualify for 2021 Afcon and other major competitions,” he added.