Afcon 2019: Avire confident he will keep his place in Harambee Stars squad

John Avire of Kenya Sofapaka and Harambee Stars.
The Sofapaka striker reveals to Goal he will continue to work hard as he aims to remain a regular in the team

Kenyan striker John Avire has reiterated his desire to keep his place in Harambee Stars squad after making his debut at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.

The Sofapaka striker was among the players, whose inclusion in the squad for the Afcon elicited mixed reactions from fans when he was selected ahead of Jesse Were and Allan Wanga.

However, Avire proved his doubters wrong after coming in to replace Francis Kahata during the Group C match against Tanzania, where he turned the game around as Kenya rallied from a goal down to beat East African neighbours 3-2.

The 22-year-old Avire now believes he has what it takes to keep his place in the side.

“It was a good experience for me since I joined the national team and I believe I have gained and have also learned a lot after training with experienced players,” Avire told Goal in an interview after the team arrived from Egypt on Thursday.

“My intentions now are to keep working hard, put more effort and strive to do much better for the team. I want to keep working harder so that I can maintain my position in the team.

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“I know it will not be easy but with proper planning and training and keeping the focus, I will definitely make it. It was a good experience at the Afcon and it is unfortunate that we could not make it past the group stages.”

Kenya, who were making their first appearance in the finals after a 15-year wait, narrowly failed to make it past the group stages in Egypt after finishing third in a pool won by Algeria, while Africa's top-ranked side, Senegal finished second.

Harambee Stars started their Afcon campaign with a 2-0 defeat against Algeria, but they recovered to beat Tanzania 3-2 before Senegal beat them 3-0.