Top coaches, player speak out on Kenya’s Afcon chances
How realistic are Kenya’s chances of featuring at the Africa Cup of Nations finals set for Gabon in two years’ time?
Or simply put, is the national football team capable of finishing top in a qualifying group against Zambia, Congo-Brazzaville and Guinea Bissau and qualify for the continental event?
The statistics suggest not. After all, Harambee Stars has failed in its last six consecutive attempts (since 2006) to earn a slot to compete amongst the continent’s top 16 nations.
Then at position 117, Harambee Stars is ranked third within the pool of aforementioned teams, behind Congo (49) and Zambia (59) according to the latest Fifa rankings.
Guinea Bissau (131) comes in last on this mini-log.
Despite this background, a couple of stakeholders that Nairobi News has spoken to believe the home team possess the talent to earn a ticket to Libreville.
The stakeholders, who include Football Kenya Federation’s (FKF) technical director Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee, veteran coach Bob Oyugi and the team’s lead striker Allan Wanga however suggest some things must be done differently.
“Government’s involvement in the team’s preparations will be key. No footballing nation has succeeded the world over without support from the establishment. And here, am not talking about pledges from politicians for cash handouts on the eve of the match,” Mulee, who is the last tactician to lead Kenya to this tournament, said.
Without a sponsor Stars will heavily rely on Government funding in this competition.
“Congo and Zambia boast a robust youth structure, most of their players have come through the age groups and the two teams both featured at the last Cup of Nations,” Oyugi, who doubles up as the head of coaches in Kenya, said.
“Williamson is a good coach but we need to offer him quality friendlies against teams with similar style of play to our opponents,” Oyugi added.
“We are underdogs in this group at the moment but underdogs always perform well on the big stage. Our current squad is capable of making it through,” Sudan based Kenya international Allan Wanga, who is expected to lead Kenya’s strike force in this competition said.