National football team Harambee Stars will camp in France for two weeks before featuring at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations competition in Cameroon between June 7 and 30, 2019.
The revelation was made yesterday by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa, a day after the team hammered Ethiopia 3-0 to take the stranglehold of Group F. The resounding win meant that Stars have one leg in the continental competition where they last took part 14 years ago.
“Plans are complete to have the national team train in France for two weeks ahead of the 2019 Afcon in Cameroon. I commend them for their performance on Sunday and that is an indication that they can do better things in future, we are no longer underdogs in African football, Mwendwa said.
He added: “ We, however, still have to remain focused until we are certain of qualification.” After four matches, Stars are on top of Group F with seven points and are followed by Ethiopia on four points from four matches. The Black Stars of Ghana and Sierra Leone are on three points after playing two matches.
Kenya will have to wait on world football governing body Fifa who were meeting Sierra Leone Football Association (FA) officials yesterday in Zurich, to decide on their fate.
Fifa had banned them due to government interference, but they appealed against the decision and requested that their back-to-back qualifying matches against Ghana be shelved to a later date.
If Fifa maintain their stance against the West African country, then it will automatically earn Kenya a ticket to next year’s event, but if they pardon Sierra Leone, Stars may need to beat them in their next qualifier on November 16 at Kasarani to make the final qualifier against Ghana slated for March 22 in Accra, a formality.
Meanwhile, President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday led other Kenyans in congratulating Stars for their 3-0 win over Ethiopia’s Walia Antelopes.
“Congratulations Harambee Stars for the well-deserved victory. Hongera and God bless,” wrote President Kenyatta on his twitter account.
Deputy President William Ruto said: “The boys have done it. A momentous occasion as Harambee Stars thump Ethiopia 3-0 to all but guarantee a place at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations showpiece. Tactical discipline, sterling team effort, fantastic home support and belief carried the day.
Let’s savour the great win.” Former FKF president Sam Nyamweya said: “ I take this early chance to congratulate Stars on the important win against Ethiopia in the qualification campaign for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations to be staged in Cameroon.
Against all odds, the boys performed exemplarily well to see off Ethiopia to move closer to qualification for Africa’s premier football showpiece for the first time in 15 years.
I urge the Government and the Football Kenya Federation to work together to ensure that the challenges the team faced during this international break do not recur because they affect the morale of the team.”