Kenya: Harambee Stars Should Save Face With a World Cup Ticket

The Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers are now behind us and Kenya did not qualify for the finals to be held in Cameroon.

Interestingly, Harambee Stars did not win a single match at home! We drew with Egypt, Comoros and Togo at home, and for all the three matches, we only managed three points out of the possible nine! This is something that has to change if we are to do better in the future. We won only the last match against Togo in Lomé and lost against Comoros away. The rest were draws.

We can be pessimistic and learn nothing from this, or be optimistic and get better. The last two matches of the Afcon qualifiers were quite dramatic, we held the great Liverpool star Mohamed Salah and Egypt to a draw at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani and beat Togo away in Lome 2-1.

Well, all that is now water under the bridge and we must fix our sights on the future expectantly for a bigger prize. The 2022 Qatar World Cup fixtures have been released, and for the second round of qualifiers Kenya is drawn in Group "E" together with Uganda, Rwanda and Mali.

These are the teams that stand on our way to the third and final round that may, for once, take us to the World Cup finals in Qatar. In this group, the only team that has qualified for the Afcon this time round is Mali. The rest were ejected.

The World Cup qualifiers begin in June with Harambee Stars hosting Uganda Cranes in Nairobi before travelling to Rwanda for the away match in Kigali.

The fixtures seem to favour us as we play the first match and also end the qualifiers at home. If we can win our first three matches, then we shall be real contenders.

As it is, our main obstacle will be the Covid-19 lockdown and the ban on all sporting activities. It is our sincere hope that our local league will resume by mid-April so that our players get requisite fitness before the June kick-off of the qualifiers.

We also hope that if Covid-19 cases get worse, then the government will at least allow the Harambee Stars to put up camp and train for the qualifiers.

Another fear looms of a possible Fifa ban over failure to pay former coach Adel Amrouche for wrongful dismissal. In 2018, Zimbabwe were ejected from the World Cup qualifiers because their football association failed to pay Brazilian coach Jose Claudinei Georgini "Valinhos" his dues.

We are in a similar situation, let's hope Fifa will be lenient.

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