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Africa Cup of Nations Qualification

Afcon 2021 Qualifiers: Harambee Stars must play without fear vs Egypt – Kimanzi

5:16 pm AEDT 12/11/19
Eric Ouma of Kenya and Harambee Stars vs a Mozambique striker
The former Mathare United coach reveals to Goal what he has told the players ahead of their Group G opener in Alexandria

Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi has challenged his players to stand up and take the battle to Egypt when the two sides clash in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

The Kenyan side left the country on Sunday night to Cairo via Dubai in a long 16-hour flight and will also need to travel by road to Alexandria, with the Group G opener slated for the Borg El Arab Stadium.

The Harambee Stars will also be seeking to make it to the Afcon finals for the second time in a row having graced the last edition held in Egypt, where they failed to get past the group stage.

Coach Kimanzi says they must aim to make a positive start if they are to have a positive campaign in the qualifiers where they are also pooled alongside Togo and Comoros.

“I have asked my players to have the self-belief and take the game to Egypt,” Kimanzi told Goal.

“We don’t need to fear them but rather we need to play our game, defend well and also go for the goals that can win us the match.

“I don’t think Kenya are in a difficult group, or we need to do is play well and target positive results in our away matches. We have a good record back home, so it is not a problem.

“If we win or at least pick draw in our three matches away then get wins back home, then we can be assured of another place in the finals of the competition. I want to target the same and my players also know they need to play well and win away.”

After taking on Egypt in Alexandria on Thursday, Kenya will return home to face Togo four days later.

Kimanzi insists their travel plans have complicated matters for the team but they will strive to do their best.

“This is a punishment to the team. We are going to waste time, accumulate fatigue and we will still be expected to be explosive during the match,” Kimanzi continued.

“The sad thing is that the route we are using is the most expensive and yet longest instead of being convenient.”

Kenya will welcome Comoros for the third round before visiting the island nation a week later for the return leg.

In the penultimate round, a home game against Egypt will be played between October 5 and 13, 2020, while the final qualifier will see Kenya travel to Lome for a date with Togo.