Harambee Stars shift focus to CHAN qualifiers after Afcon exit

Harambee Stars jet back home from Cairo early Thursday morning and while most of the foreign-based players take off their boots for rest and recovery, there will be little time to rest for the local-based crew and the technical bench.

Stars are scheduled to play Tanzania in the first round of the 2020 Africa Nations Championship qualifiers at the end of the month and the team will only have a few days of rest before resuming training.

Kenya will play the Taifa Stars of Tanzania in the first round of qualification on 27 July in Dar es Salaam before hosing the return leg tie a week later in Nairobi.

This will be a rematch of their Africa Cup of Nations tie in Cairo where Stars won 3-2.

Head coach Sebastien Migne had already picked out a squad of local based players for the CHAN qualifiers before travelling to Cairo and he is expected to get back to work with them at the beginning of the new week.

Harambee Stars head coach Sebastien Migne gives instructions to the players during a training session in Cairo on 26 June. PHOTO/COURTESY

In his AFCON squad, the players he will need to give maximum rest will be right-back Philemon Otieno and defensive midfielder Dennis Odhiambo who played the most number of minutes at AFCON.

Sofapaka forward John Avire and Bernard Ochieng were limited to substitute appearances while Joash Onyango, Paul Were and John Oyemba were unused substitutes.

Creative midfielder Francis Kahata and keeper Faruk Shikalo who are both headed to the Tanzanian Premier League with Simba and Yanga respectively might play if their contracts will not have been activated by then.

Meanwhile, Migne says the team leaves Cairo proud despite failing to achieve their primary target of reaching the last 16.

“It will be interesting for the future, but we can’t sleep. We have to learn immediately. We committed some fault which we can avoid for the future for example the penalties. There is nothing more important than the experience,” Migne said.

Harambee Stars utility Eric Ouma vies for the ball with Senegal’s Ismaila Sarr during their Africa Cup of Nations Group C match in Cairo on 1 July. PHOTO/COURTESY

“We played against top teams. Senegal has qualified for every AFCON and were in the last World Cup as well. We played against Sadio Mane who was one of the best players in Europe last season. We cannot reduce the gap in one day. We have to work hard.

“I think the players learnt a lot because it was the first time for all of them to be in this kind of tournament and have these kinds of training sessions.”


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