Mwendwa: Kenya vs Comoros to be played under floodlights

FKF boss Nick Mwendwa.
The local federation has confirmed that the Afcon qualifier pitting Harambee Stars against the Islanders will be played at night

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has confirmed the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match pitting Harambee Stars against Comoros will be played under floodlights.

The first round battle earmarked for November 11 will kick-off at 7 pm at Kasarani Stadium and according to Mwendwa fans will also not be allowed to attend the match owing to strict Covid-19 protocols set up by the government through the Ministry of Health.

“We had planned to have the qualifier played at the refurbished Nyayo Stadium but it will not be the case now because the lights at the venue are not functioning, so we have been forced to push the match to Kasarani,” Mwendwa told Goal on Saturday.

“The match will kick-off at 7 pm and it will be played under floodlights, we have already confirmed the Kasarani lights are working well, so the match will be played there but under strict Covid-19 rules.”

It will be Kenya’s first match under new coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee, who was appointed on Wednesday to take over the mantle after the FKF parted ways with former coach Francis Kimanzi on mutual agreement.

Mulee has already revealed the importance of the match, stating his main target is to win all matches at home to stand a chance of making it to the Afcon finals.

“It’s not going to be an easy match,” Mulee told Goal. “Most of their players play abroad. It’s a difficult match but looking at what our team has achieved in recent times, it gives me confidence that we can get a positive result.”

Mulee, whose last match as the coach of Harambee Stars was in 2010 during the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup held in Tanzania, further explained his desire is to always see the team taking part in the Afcon finals. 

“It’s a good thing that the Federation has shown confidence in what I can do. I have been following the team in recent times and I see a lot of quality in the team,” Mulee continued.

“The first task is to qualify for the Afcon. In the recent past, our story has been going for the tournament, and then staying out for long thereafter, we want to make it a habit that we can be able to qualify for Afcon every other year.”

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The 52-year-old tactician also stressed he will pick his squad for the national team on merit by stating, “Talent is talent. It’s been difficult for our local-based players during this Covid-19 pandemic in terms of match fitness, hence, we may have to turn to our foreign-based players who have been active. But in the end, talent is talent, I will pick my squad on merit.”

Kenya will move to residential training on October 26, first with local-based players, before the foreign-based stars start arriving on November 2, ahead of the first match set for Kasarani Stadium on November 11.

Kenya are currently second in Group G after managing two draws from their first two matches, 1-1 against Egypt away in Cairo and the same scoreline against Togo in Nairobi.