The Clock is ticking towards June 23 when Kenya’s Harambee Stars will take on the Algerian Desert Foxes in their opening African Cup of Nations Match at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo.
This will mark Kenya’s return to Africa’s biggest football extravaganza after a 15 year absence.
Ahead of their opening Match, Kenyan players are optimistic that they will deliver in Egypt.
The mood in Kenya’s camp is great with players out to step up whenever called upon by coach Sebastien Migne.
One such player is Gor Mahia’s Francis Kahata who believes that Kenya will not be a walk in the park for other teams.
Kahata has said that Harambee Stars will surprise many in Egypt.
Despite having to face teams like Senegal, Algeria and Tanzania, Kahata believes that Harambee Stars will sail through the Group Stages.
“The team is new and the coaches are also new but if you look at the qualification journey we have played against big teams like Ghana. So we have to play as a team and let teamwork be our guiding philosophy,” Kahata told the Football Kenya Federation website.
“I believe there isn’t any pressure at all and it is true we have been out for a very long time. Each player needs to look at what he can give to the team and Kenyans should also support us and with that, we can qualify to the next round,” he added.
The former KF Tirana star has added that the team’s confidence will also be key if they are to put a good show in Egypt.
He has also said that the players in the Stars’ squad have all that it takes to get the job done in Egypt.
“Confidence is also an important thing that is needed now and I hope we will surprise many people.”
“Many people can say that we cannot go far but if we play as a team then I don’t see any difficulty. We have earned important experience to deal with the pressure of playing away from home. We need to understand our set target then strive to achieve it,” he opined.
“The players we have in camp now are mature and some are young but mature enough and they are ready to learn and I hope everyone will push themselves to help the team achieve the Afcon target.” he concluded.
Harambee Stars leave their France base on June 19 for Egypt to step up their preparations for their opening match against Algeria.
Kenya will also take on Senegal and neighbours Tanzania.
The team has played two friendlies enroute to the continental showpiece. Kenya beat Madagascar 1-0 before being held 1-1 by DRC in it’s last friendly played in Madrid, Spain.