Harambee Stars captain and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama believes Kenya is still a long way to qualifying for the Wprld Cup and a lot needs to be done to achieve that dream.
With Football Kenya Federation making it clear that their ambition is to see Stars play in the 2022 Qatar World Cup, Wanyama says that will not happen unless there is a long-term strategy.
“Playing in the World Cup is a big thing. Now, it is not possible but in future it can be done. We can achieve that if we set up academies and nurture our players from that level while at the same time focusing on grassroots football. However, I have to admit that currently we are trying hard to get to the world stage,” said Wanyama.
The last time Kenya came close to qualifying for the World Cup was the 1998 showpiece in France but their chances went up in smoke following a 3-0 loss away to Nigeria in the final qualifying round, having played to a 1-1 draw in Nairobi.
Meanwhile, Wanyama will not be available for the national team’s friendly matches against Swaziland and Equatorial Guinea to be played on Friday and Monday respectively.
“I am coming back from a long-term injury so I need to manage it well and stay strong,” said Wanyama on why he will not be featuring for the national team.
He was speaking in Nairobi yesterday after being unveiled as the DSTV Kenya 2018 FIFA World Cup brand ambassador under the tag-line “Connect with Greatness.”
“As a player it is great to be a role model to the younger players and I hope this will be a source of inspiration to the upcoming players that they can get to the top of the sport with hard work, dedication and passion,” he said.
As part of the deal, the Stars skipper is expected to undertake football clinics organised by Multichoice for young players across the country within the one-month World Cup period. The clinics are meant to motivate young players and equip them with skills necessary to see them rise to the world stage that the midfielder is currently on.
“Wanyama has grown from the grassroots to the English Premier League and his story is an inspiration the world over. We are proud to be associated with him,” said Multichoice managing director Eric Odipo.