• Kahata, who was a key figure during the qualifiers banks his hope on the experience drawn in the qualifiers where Kenya, against the odds, beat a fancied Ghana at home.
• It’s our first time to be at the Afcon and as players, we have to give a good account of our ourselves — Francis Kahata
Harambee Stars will pull surprises at the Africa Cup of Nations despite coming up against revered opponents, according to playmaker Francis Kahata. None of the current Stars players have ever played in the continental showpiece and going by the calibre of teams they will play in the group stages, Kenya is deemed as an underdog.
Stars return to the competition for the first time in 15 years where they have been pitted against Senegal, Algeria and neighbours Tanzania but Kahata has his bet on Kenya producing an upset at the tournament.
The Gor Mahia midfield dynamo, who was a key figure during the qualifiers banks his hope on the experience drawn in the qualifiers where Kenya, against the odds, beat a fancied Ghana at home.
The former Thika United player was named in the 30-man provisional squad and is expected to make the cut when coach Sebastian Migne names his final squad of 23, thanks to his consistency, both at club and national team. The left-footed midfielder has predicted a successful outing for Stars should they replicate their qualifier efforts.
“It was a long qualifying process which came to be through the efforts of the players, both individually and as a team. We played tough matches and we are aware that we will face equally tough opponents in the group stages. Everybody views Kenya as an underdog but I am sure we will pull surprises,” said Kahata, who is also in the 32-man Chan provisional squad. “We stand a chance of posting impressive results in the tournament should we double our efforts from the qualifiers.”
Kahata, whose name has widely featured in the transfer market, locally and abroad, is relishing being in the finals for the first time, an opportunity he plans to fully seize.
“It’s our first time to be at the Afcon and as players, we have to give a good account of our ourselves. We qualified after a long period and to us it’s historical. The tournament provides exposure to us and we have to make it count.”
Meanwhile, Migne who hinted to have begun video analysis of their opponents last week is set to begin training with the available locally-based players on Monday before they jet out for an overseas training camp in Paris, France on May 31.