Benin, Cameroon draw to knock Kenya out of AFCON


Benin, Cameroon draw to knock Kenya out of AFCON
Sports CS Amina Mohamed pose with Harambee Stars players after a luncheon in River Nile in Cairo, Egypt on July 2, 2019. PHOTO/Sportpicha/Stafford Ondego/Citizen

In Summary

  • Harambee Stars have bowed out of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals following a barren draw between Cameroon and Benin. The Stars, on three points, with a negative four goal difference, needed Cameroon to beat Benin and Mali to beat Angola  in another match set for 10pm to qualify but this was not to be.
  • By picking a point from Cameroon, Benin are now on three points but with a better goal difference effectively locking Kenya out irrespective of the results between Mali and Angola who collide from 10pm(EAT).

Kenya’s national football team, Harambee Stars have bowed out of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals following a barren draw between Cameroon and Benin. The Stars, on three points, with a negative goal difference of four, needed Cameroon to beat Benin and Mali to beat Angola in another match set for 10pm  Tuesday to qualify but this was not to be.

By picking a point from Cameroon, Benin are now on three points but with a better goal difference than Kenya which occupied the last slot of four best losers before the Benin game effectively locking the Stars out irrespective of the result between Mali and Angola who collide from 10pm(EAT).

The best four losers after the Benin match are Guinea on 4 points, DR Congo( 3 points), South Africa and Benin(all on three points) in that order.

Meanwhile the team was on Tuesday afternoon hosted to a luncheon in River Nile aboard the Nile Cruise Ship by Kenya’s Ambassador in Egypt Jeff Otieno.

Also in attendance were Sports CS Amina Mohamed and the FKF chief Nick Mwendwa.

Speaking at the luncheon, Amina hailed the team for a brave show they gave in the competition despite bowing out saying there are a lot of positives to pick from the tourney.

“The boys have done really well and we are proud with of the work we’ve done together. The facilitation and the support we’ve provided, and they didn’t take all that for granted,” she said flanked by the Ambassador who noted that it was his pleasure to host the team.

Added Amina: “They gave their best. They scarified, they made the effort, they played hard, you could tell form the first half with Senegal that our boys are really going places… and I would really like to tell Kenyans to watch this space because this team is not going to stop here, it’s going to do well.”

Amina added that her ministry is focused on uplifting the standards of the  game adding that attention shifts to the Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifiers.

Soccer Football - Africa Cup of Nations 2019 - Group C - Algeria v Kenya - 30 June Stadium, Cairo, Egypt - June 23, 2019 Kenya players huddle at the end of the match REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

‘We are looking forward to Chan already from the 27th of this month we will be going to play football in Dar es Salaam and we want our boys to do well,” she said in reference to the Stars looming double header against the Taifa Stars of Tanzania.

Amina also accepts that sports infrastructure in Kenya is wanting reckoning that the vital lessons have been learnt from the sojourn in Egypt as far as facilities are concerned.

“I agree, I agree that we have infrastructural challenges and that’s not a secret, I think we all know that and we’re trying to address it. We’ve agreed that there are a number of stadia we must work on, and work on very quickly. You know that we lost the opportunity to host Chan because we didn’t have the infrastructure that was required, thankfully the President set up the Sports Fund and we are going to use the resources that are provided to improve our infrastructure. I won’t give you a time frame but it’s something we are really engaged in.

“So yes, we need to address that and address it seriously. I won’t give you a time frame but it’s something we are really engaging in.”

Following their knockout from the tourney, the Stars are expected to recuperate for a few days with a trip to Giza Pyramids on the cards before they board the plane home.

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Story By Isaac Swila
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