Underrate us not, warns Johana as AFCON D-Day nears
- Harambee Stars midfielder Eric Johanna says the team will be judged by its performance at the African Cup of Nations finals.
- Johana who is with the Stars in camp in France ahead of the showpiece says the fact that all the players in Migne’s squad are making an AFCON debut they can pull a surprise citing Zambia’s conquest in 2012.
Harambee Stars midfielder Eric Johanna says the team will be judged by its performance at the African Cup of Nations finals and must pull their weight to impress.
Johana who is with the Stars in camp in France ahead of the showpiece says the fact that all the players in Migne’s squad are making an AFCON debut, they can pull a surprise citing Zambia’s conquest in 2012.
“None of the selected players has ever played in the AFCON finals. This can work to our advantage since most of us will want to prove their worth knowing well a lot of scouting will be taking place,’’ said Johana.
The Sweden based midfielder says the presence of captain Victor Wanyama is a big motivation for Kenya and facing players like Champions League winner Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez who won the English Premier League will be an opportunity to showcase their talents.
He says it will be a lifetime opportunity for any player granted playtime to make an impact as they will face big calibre opponents and players of pedigree.
“For instance if I am a defender and on several occasions deny the likes of Sadio Mane and Riyad Marez space to score, then I will be remembered by millions of Kenyans. That is exactly what we are striving to do,” he observed.
Johana who plies his trade in Sweden says the current football administration has played its part and especially availing them good training facilities abroad which should inspire them to work their socks off. The sensational midfielder says they are highly motivated and the buck stops with them to deliver for Kenyans.
Johana who formerly turned out for Mathare United in the Kenyan Premier League before joining the professional ranks will fight for a starting role in Stars congested midfield which also has Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama, alongside Francis Kahata and Dennis Odhiambo.
Borrowing from the fairy-tale run of Ajax Amsterdam in the Uefa Champions League where the Dutch club fell big names to reach the semis, Eric believes the Stars should not be taken for granted.
“We know what over 40 million Kenyans are expecting from us and we don’t want to disappoint them,” he concluded.
Migne made history by taking Kenya to the Afcon finals for the very first time after breezing in the cold for 15 years. Kenya is grouped with another regional team Taifa Stars of Tanzania, Senegal and Algeria, with whom they will play their opener on June 23.
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