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Africa Cup of Nations

Victor Wanyama and Kenya's key players against Algeria in Afcon 2019 opener

10:13 IST 22/06/2019
Patrick Matasi of Harambee Stars and Aboud Omar.
The Sebastien Migne led Harambee Stars have everything to prove when they face the North African giants in their Group C opener at June 30 Stadium

Harambee Stars will be aiming for a good start when they face Algeria in their opening Afcon 2019 Group C match on Sunday.

Kenya, who are making a return to the Africa Cup of Nations finals after a 15-year absence, will also face Senegal and Tanzania in the other two Group matches.

But a win against the Desert Warriors will increase their chances of making it to the knock out stage of the competition for the first time in six attempts.

The last time Kenya took part in the competition was in 2004 in Tunisia when they managed to win their first ever match, a 3-1 win against Burkina Faso.

Below, Goal parades some of the players, who will be relied on to get Kenya the much-needed win.

  • Patrick Matasi keeper for Harambee Stars.

    Patrick Matasi

    Matasi saves helped Kenya to qualify for the Afcon for the first time after a 15-year absence and will be the main man to start in goal. He has, however, committed three grave mistakes; against Ghana, Madagascar and DR Congo which led to two goals and a penalty. A more solid showing will be crucial to Kenya's progression from their group.

  • Joash Onyango of Gor Mahia FC and the Harambee Stars.

    Joash Onyango

    A no-nonsense defender who played a vital role during the famous 1-0 win against Ghana in Nairobi that enhanced Kenya’s chances of making it to the Afcon finals. He will have to be careful though, especially in the danger zone, to avoid conceding penalties and possible sending off as witnessed against the Black Stars.

  • Victor Wanyama of Harambee Stars.

    Victor Wanyama

    The captain has not been at his best of late while turning out for Harambee Stars and has at times, after an injury-ravaged season, struggled to cope with the tempo of the game. In Egypt, there will be no room for mistakes and he has to step up and lead the team from the front and command the midfield.
  • Eric Johanna of Kenya and Harambee Stars.

    Eric Johanna

    He was involved in all the four goals that Kenya scored in the qualifiers. He will be relied on to create goals for the team and score whenever there is an opportunity. His work rate and the will to run should trouble the rest of the teams in Kenya's Afcon group and if he performs at his best, could be the key man who helps Kenya qualify for knockout stages for the first time ever.
  • Ayub Timbe of Harambee Stars v Madagascar.

    Ayub Timbe

    Timbe has never failed to impress whenever he has an opportunity to do so. He can always create chances out of nowhere, and this was evident when his creative pass to striker Michael Olunga enabled Kenya to draw 1-1 with DR Congo. The Beijing Renhe forward is also quick when using the flanks and the strikers can rely on him for the crosses.
  • Michael Olunga of Kenya Harambee Stars v DR Congo.

    Michael Olunga

    He is undoubtedly Kenya’s first choice striker, a hard worker who gives defenders a difficult time. Olunga has pace, height and strength to help him create problems for defenders. However, he will have to be more clinical with his chances during the Africa Cup of Nations finals.