Harambee Stars optimistic of winning 2019 Africa Cup of Nations

Harambee Stars head coach, Stanley Okumbi, is optimistic his charges will be in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, reflecting on their performance in the just concluded 2017 qualifiers, despite finishing last with only five points in group stage play offs.

Okumbi, who took over from former tactician Bobby Williamson after two matches in the campaign, lost 2 – 0 to the eventual pool winner Guinea Bissau, beat Congo Brazzavile at home before ending the campaign with a 1-1 draw away in Zambia.

“Yes the campaign is over and I am happy we have finished in the right direction. We have not lost in the last five internationals which is an indicator we are getting somewhere,” noted the optimistic coach.

“In Uganda, we were the better side. We should have won with at least three goals. In the Zambia match, we were on the verge of winning but we conceded a late goal, it’s a significant improvement because it’s long we earned away points especially against big teams like Zambia,” Okumbi told reporters upon arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Monday night.

His sentiments were echoed by the Football Kenya Federation boss, Nick Mwendwa, who accompanied the team to Zambia, saying much has been achieved in team building.

“We have made tremendous gains in our steady process of building a team we can be sure about. We now have a settled technical bench which was not there when we started. The team is also feeling covered whenever there is a big assignment, you never hear about logistical problems that were they used to sing about all the time,” noted Mwendwa.

“We just need to continue with what we have started, consistency is a key factor of success in football.”

West Africa minnows Guinea Bissau qualified for the biennial showpiece with 10 points, one ahead of Congo while the 2012 winners, Chipolopolo, settled third with seven.

Having bowed out the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, Kenya shifts focus to CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup and next year’s CHAN.