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Africa Cup of Nations Qualification

Harambee Stars to engage in two friendlies before Comoros Afcon qualifiers - Mwendwa

11:13 EAT 05/09/2020
Johanna Omolo of Kenya Harambee Stars is challenged by Farid Mussa of Tanzania.
The national team will face the Islanders in back-to-back matches as they try to reach the continental tournament once again

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa has revealed they are in talks with other countries for possible friendlies with Harambee Stars.

After Caf released a new condensed calendar for both the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and World Cup qualifiers, countries are expected to be in a rush to prepare their teams for international football return.

Mwendwa said one of the countries they have approached is Sudan but did not give a clear indication whether the northern neighbours have accepted FKF’s request.

“Caf calendars are already out and we have been in talks with two countries to see whether they can come and engage Harambee Stars in friendlies,” Mwendwa told NTV.

“It has been quite hard to get a willing nation for friendly action because of the situation around the [coronavirus] pandemic.

“We must engage in friendlies to prepare the team for qualifiers. Sudan and other nations are among the countries we have had talks with.”

The FKF chief said the big issue now is getting the local players fit for those qualifiers given that they have been out of action for almost six months now.

Michael Olunga has been playing and is enjoying good form for Kashiwa Reysol in J1 League where he is the top scorer. Johanna Omollo of Cercle Brugge in Belgium and Eric Johana of Jonkopings Sodra are other Harambee Stars who have been in action.

“We must hold such friendlies because we need to gauge how fit our players are. But I am happy [Michael] Olunga is scoring goals in Japan and I think, he is one of the best in the world now,” he added.

“The boys in Sweden are also doing a good job and so we need the local lads to start training so that Francis Kimanzi [Harambee Stars coach] can start organising his team.

“We believe we are going to be at Afcon again so that we can make history.

“After Afcon, you know there is also the World Cup qualifiers. Football is back and now we are just talking about football.”

Kenya are in Group G with Egypt, Comoros and Togo while in the World Cup qualifiers, they are in the same pool as Rwanda, Uganda and Mali in Group E.