Kenyan football fans have every reason to smile after Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa announced that there will be no gate charges for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Kenya and Ethiopia at Moi Stadium, Kasarani.
This is a sharp contrast to the previous home game against Ghana, where tickets were sold at a flat rate of Sh1,000 for VIP and Sh200 for terraces.
Kenyans are expected to out-number their rivals who on Wednesday showed up in full numbers to support the Walia Antelopes at the Bahir Dar Stadium, Ethiopia.
In a statement, Echesa explained it was the duty of all patriotic Kenyans to come out in large numbers to support the team unreservedly.
The return leg is crucial as the national team stand a chance of qualifying for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations for the first time since 2004.
“A win for Stars in this match will take the team to the brink of qualifying for Afcon 2019 in Cameroon. In this regard, I wish our team all the best as they prepare to take on Ethiopia,” said the CS.
Echesa also assured the national team of full support amidst claims of head coach Sebastien Migne threatening to walk out due to unpaid salary dating back three months.
The Frenchman, who was hired in May has only been paid twice. However, FKF and the Ministry of Sports will be working hard to keep the coach happy having also led Harambee Stars to a historic 1-0 win against Ghana’s Black Stars in his first competitive match.
Meanwhile, Migne has called upon fans to replicate the attendance witnessed at the Bahir Dar Stadium when he leads his charges against Ethiopia this weekend in the return match.
Kenya salvaged a valuable point at the hostile venue to move to three points within the reach of the qualification and Migne has urged Kenyan fans to paint Kasarani red on Sunday.
He said the atmosphere in Ethiopia made his puzzle thicker and has asked the Kenyan fans to serve the Ethiopians with the same when they visit this weekend.
He said: “The fans were amazing and the atmosphere made it difficult for sure. If I have one wish, I hope to have a full stadium next Sunday,” he noted.