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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Wanyama - Very Important Mandela is with the Harambee Stars squad

15:03 BST 22/06/2019
Victor Wanyama Raila Odinga Sebastien Migne and Harambee Stars.
Mandela will be with his international teammates while he recuperates from a knee injury suffered during the Afcon preparations in France

Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama has welcomed the plan of keeping injured Brian Mandela in camp during the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament.

Mandela was ruled out of the biennial event but the Football Kenya Federation decided to keep him in camp in Egypt.

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, Wanyama challenged the fit Kenyan defenders to rise to the challenge and fill the void left by the Maritzburg United centre-back.

"Mandela has been an important player for the team and his injury is a big blow for the team but there are players who can fill that position. His presence in the camp will be very important for motivational purposes. After his operation, we wished him a quick recovery and the most important thing is to have him in the camp here in Egypt," Wanyama told reporters.

Mandela had featured in the Madagascar friendly which Kenya won 1-0 in Paris. He underwent surgery on Wednesday in France and joined his teammates in Cairo on Thursday.

Kenya is due to open their Afcon journey with a match against Algeria on June 23 before meeting Taifa Stars of Tanzania four days later. Then their final Group C match is against Senegal's Lions of Teranga.