Harambee Stars to clash with DRC’s Leopards in Afcon build-up match
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has slightly tweaked Harambee Stars itinerary ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Stars coach Sebastian Migne has also clarified that he is open to shuffling his provisional 30-man squad up until June 15, which is the deadline for submission of the final 23-man squads to the tournament organizers.
The month-long biennial continental showpiece kicks off on June 21 with Stars drawn in Group C alongside Senegal, Algeria and Tanzania.
All their group matches will be played at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo on June 23, June 27 and July 1 respectively.
In readiness for these engagements, FKF president Nick Mwendwa on Wednesday Nairobi News that he has lined up a friendly match against a star-studded Democratic Republic of Congo in Madrid on June 15.
This match replaces the earlier ‘planned’ clash with Gambia in Paris on the same day.
Mwendwa’s clarification comes just days after Gambia Football Association said talks between the two federations regarding the said friendly match had collapsed.
Either way, Kenya will also play Madagascar in Paris on June 7 as Migne looks to retain his policy of facing middle-tier opposition in build-up matches, a decision influenced by the possible by fear of possible morale-sapping heavy defeats at the hands of the likes of Nigeria, Tunisia, Algeria or even Egypt.
In the Spanish capital, Stars will be hoping for a third successive win over the Leopards after beating Florent Ibenge’s charges 1-0 in Kinshasha in September 2016, and then 2-1 in Machakos in March 2017, courtesy of a Micheal Olunga double.
But the current Leopards squad could prove more difficult to beat, considering Ibenge has picked up his most dangerous arsenal available including Chancel Mbemba, Diemerci Mbokani, Youssouf Mulumbu, Gabriel Zakuani and Neeskens Kebano, who are all based in England.
There is also space for TP Mazembe goalkeeper Ley Matampi, Panathinaikos attacker Wilson Kamavuka and China-based striker Cedric Bakambu.
Sixteen of the players called up by Migne, mostly the local based players, have already reported to camp at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
The rest of the team will link up with the squad in phases, with team captain Victor Wanyama expected to join his teammates on June 3 in Paris, a day after the UEFA Champions League final.