Kenya to play Libya, Mozambique in friendlies ahead of AFCON qualifiers

Kenya has confirmed two international friendly matches in October for Harambee Stars ahead of 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa said in Nairobi on Monday that Harambee Stars will turn their focus on Libya and Mozambique in next month’s friendlies before heading to Cairo for the start of their AFCON campaign.

Kenya is pooled alongside Egypt, Togo, and Comoros in the qualifiers of which the top two teams will make the finals, which will be held in 2021 in Cameroon.

On Sunday, Kenya was forced to a 1-1 draw in Nairobi against the Uganda Cranes in their first match after the resignation of French coach Sebastian Migne following a poor show at the 2019 AFCON in Egypt.

New head coach Francis Kimanzi has since taken over and had to settle for a draw in his first match in charge.

“We had five new local players in the starting team, which is a great step. The growth continues. Now we move on to Libya and then Mozambique in October before heading to Cairo in November for AFCON qualifiers. Let’s do these boys,” said Mwendwa in Nairobi on Monday.

A total of 48 nations, including hosts Cameroon, have been split into 12 groups each consisting of four teams, with two teams from each group progressing to the finals.

Kenya ended a 15-year hiatus from the AFCON when they competed in the 2019 Egypt Africa Cup of Nations.

Though the team was bundled out in the preliminary rounds, Mwendwa believes the country has the players, structure, and the determination to qualify for their second continental football tournament in as many attempts.

Kenya team, the Harambee Stars, will be led by Japan-based striker Michael Olunga. “It was an honor to captain the Kenya national team for the first time in my career against the Uganda Cranes. The team gave a good account and the future is positive,” said Olunga.