Harambee Stars will have a three-week training camp in France in preparation for their return to the African Cup of Nations that kicks off in Egypt in mid June.
Stars head coach Sebastian Migne disclosed that together with Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa, they were on a reconnaissance mission in France last week where they scouted a couple of locations where the Kenya national football team can assemble for residential camp ahead of their sixth appearance in the Afcon finals.
Migne masterminded what had seemed an impossible fete for Kenya — to reach the Afcon finals for the first time since 2004 — especially after the loss to Sierra Leone in the opening match.
“We looked at at a few possibilities with the President. It would be ideal if we go to such a camp but all that will depend on the support we receive from the government and the sponsors,” Migne remarked.
With just four months remaining for the tournament proper to kick off, Migne disclosed he would use the available time to hand unheralded players an opportunity to stake a claim to be in the plane to Cairo. For a start, players from the under 23 squad will make up a bulk of the squad that will travel to Ghana for the final qualifier against the Black Stars.
Ayub Timbe, Ovella Ochieng, Joseph Okumu and skipper Victor Wanyama are among the foreign-based players who will join the majority under 23 side.
“We want to give Wanyama and Timbe an opportunity to get minutes on the pitch but majorly, we will have 16 home-based players from the under 23s as you know they will be preparing for the Olympic qualifiers and also Chan. We want to not only give them a chance to be in Afcon squad but also to be ready for those two qualifiers,” the French tactician explained.
The Rising Stars will take on Sudan in the Tokyo Olympic qualifier while Burundi will be their Chan opponents. Migne admitted that the Afcon tournament will be a difficult one for Kenya because the national team ‘does not have a habit of competing at this level’.
“This is a chance for the players to give good image for Kenyan football. The tournament is a fantastic platform for Kenyan football. We have to constantly be on the African map at all levels,” concluded Migne. The draw for the Afcon will be done in Cairo on April 12.