Nairobi News


Kenya prepare for Mo Salah test

Kenyan defenders will have to come up with a game plan to tame an in-form but unsettled Mohammed Salah when Egypt comes calling in a 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, on March 25.

The Liverpool forward is experiencing a rich vein of form in the English Premier League this season but has also been cited in a number of issues off the field.

Having finished top scorer two seasons ago, Salah has continued his scoring streak with one of his goals against Leicester City recently nominated for the Premier League goal of the month in February.

That goal ensured he remained top scorer in the English premier league this season, with 17 goals in 28 matches.

The 2018 African player of the year is certain to be the most lethal threat in the Kenyan goal, with Victor Wanyama, Kenneth Muguna, Brian Mandela and goalkeeper Patrick Matasi expected to work extra hard in containing him.

The left-footed Salah favors playing on the right-wing and uses his pace to beat defenders on the flank, with his blistering pace, before cutting in to curl the ball on target from long range.

But Salah has also had his fair share of challenges. He lost possession in his own half leading to Fulham’s goal in his team’s 1-0 loss at the weekend. He also appeared frustrated when substituted against Sheffield United last week. He has gone four games without scoring in the league.

Kenya currently lies 3rd in Group G behind Egypt and Comoros who lead the pool with 8 points from 4 games.

Egypt is the most successful club in this tournament with seven titles but must first overcome a promising Kenyan squad consisting of the likes of Michael Olunga who is based in Qatar and Japan’s Ayub Timbe. The Kenyan team, coached by Jacob Ghost Mulee also has Egypt-based winger Cliff Nyakeya in its ranks.

The pharaohs will have the services of midfielder Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal FC), Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromich Albion), and the skillful Mahmoud Trezeguet (Aston villa).

Harambee Stars will walk into this game against Egypt hoping for a win to improve their slim chances of qualifying for the continental competition which will be held in Cameroon in 2022.

Kenya is yet to win a match in Group G having played Egypt away, Togo and Comoros at home, and the later in Moroni.

The Africa Cup of Nations is the main international men’s association football competition in Africa, in which 24 teams are originally pooled in 12 groups each having four teams.

The four teams battle out and the two top teams from each group qualify for the quarter-finals.