Can Kimanzi stop Pharaohs dominance over Stars?
Harambee Stars of Kenya face an uphill task when they open their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with an away match against Egypt aiming to qualify for two consecutive African Cup of Nations (AFCON) editions.
The last time Kenya made it to the biggest African football fiesta three times in a row was between 1988 and 1992; a feat the current federation regime wants to repeat after breaking a 15-year hiatus this year in the Egypt finals.
However, Kenya could not a step beyond the usual group stage, while hosts Egypt crashed out in the last 16 costing then coach Javier Agguire his job.
Hossam El Badry took over from Agguire, and has since overseen two friendlies, winning against Botswana and Liberia by 1-0 margins, all goals being scored by midfielder Hamdy Fathi.
The injured attacker will however miss Kenya’s clash, as well Liverpool star Mohamed Salah who sustained an ankle injury in last weekend’s 3-1 victory over Manchester City.
In the last two friendlies, Harambee Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi has changed several players seeking to build a fresh unit after the exit of Sebastien Migne, who was shown the door after bowing out of the 2020 African Nations Cup qualifiers.
He drew Uganda 0-0 before losing to Mozambique 1-0, both matches at home in Kasarani. Kenya and Egypt have faced each other 10 times with the Pharaohs beating Stars eight times, and drawing the other two.
The last international match between the two sides was a friendly back in August 30, 2014 where Kenya lost 1-0 away to Cairo. So far Egypt are on six straight victories, with the Pharaohs conceding only two goals across all the matches and keeping eight clean sheets.
Egypt have lost just one of their previous eight matches and recorded seven triumphs in the process. No draw has been registered in their last nine international matches.
Kenya Full Squad
Patrick Matasi (St. George SC, Ethiopia), Timothy Odhiambo (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya), Ian Otieno (Red Arrows, Zambia)
Johnstone Omurwa (Wazito, Kenya), Harun Shakava (Nkana, Zambia), Joash Onyango (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Hillary Wandera (Tusker, Kenya), Erick Ouma (Vasalunds IF, Sweden), Joseph Okumu (IF Elfsborg, Sweden), Samuel Olwande (Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya)
Teddy Akumu (Zesco United, Zambia), Johanna Omollo (Cercle Brugge, Belgium), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Ayub Timbe (Beijing Renhe, China), Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspurs, England), Boniface Muchiri (Tusker, Kenya), Lawrence Juma (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Cliff Nyakeya (FC Masr, Egypt), Erick Johanna Omondi (IF Brommapojkarma, Sweden), Whyvone Isuza (AFC Leopards, Kenya)
Michael Olunga (Kashiwa Reysol, Japan), Jesse Were (Zesco United, Zambia), John Mark Makwatta (AFC Leopards, Kenya)
Egypt Full squad:
Mohamed Awad (Zamalek), Mohamed El-Shenawy (Al Ahly), Mohamed Bassam (Talaa’ El-Geish).
Defenders: Ahmed Fathi (Al Ahly), Ragab Bakar (Pyramids FC), Omar Gaber (Pyramids FC), Mohamed Hany (Al Ahly), Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion), Abdallah Gomaa (Zamalek), Mahmoud Wahid (Al Ahly), Mohamed Hamdy (Pyramids), Mahmoud Alaa (Zamalek), Ramy Rabia (Al Ahly), Baher Elmohamady (Ismaily), Ayman Ashraf (Al Ahly).
Tarek Hamed (Zamalek), Amr El-Sulya (Al Ahly), Hamdy Fathi (Al Ahly), Mohamed Elneny (Besiktas), Abdullah El-Said (Pyramids FC), Mohamed Magdy Afsha (Al Ahly), Hussein El-Shahat (Al Ahly), Ahmed Sayed Zizo (Zamalek), Mohamed Farouk (Pyramids FC), Islam Issa (Pyramids FC), Mahmoud Hassan Trezeguet (Aston Villa).
Hossam Hassan (Smouha), Marwan Hamdy (Wadi Degla), Ahmed Gomaa (Al Masry), Ahmed Hassan Kouka (SC Braga), Mahmoud Kahraba (C.D Aves).