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Kenya sets up Angola, South Africa friendlies

Harambee Stars local based players during their last friendly match against Malawi.PHOTO/File

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – Kenya’s team of local based players will face their counterparts from Angola in a friendly match on June 4 in Machakos as part of their preparations for next year’s African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Chief Executive Officer Robert Muthomi has also confirmed the team will play away to South Africa in July as well as Ivory Coast in August, all geared towards ensuring the squad is ready for the tournament to be hosted in Kenya.

“The Angola and South Africa friendly games are more or less confirmed. We met and talked with the respective FAs during the FIFA congress in Bahrain. We are still working on the finer details for the Ivory Coast game including fixing a date and venue,” Muthomi told Capital Sport.

The CHAN team has already played one friendly match, drawing 0-0 against Malawi in March, though First Coach Stanley Okumbi did not have the prestige of fielding a strong squad as most clubs pulled out their players due to the Kenyan Premier League assignments.

This time round, the coach is set to have the liberty of picking his strongest men as the Kenyan Premier League will go on break after the May 27 and 28 matches. The FIFA friendly and international competition window opens just a day later on June 5.

Harambee Stars First Coach Stanley Okumbi giving instructions during their friendly match against Malawi.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

After the Angola friendly, Okumbi will put his squad together for the first Pool game of the 2019 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers where Harambee Stars play away to Sierra Leone in Freetown on June 10.

It will be a good platform for Okumbi to test his charges with Angola and Ivory Coast both having played in the last CHAN competition in Rwanda.

While Angola were bundled out of the group stages after finishing third in their Group, Ivory Coast under the tutelage of head coach Michel Dussuyer finished third after beating Guinea in the play off.

Muthomi also confirmed that the federation is in talks for friendly matches during the FIFA window between October 2-10 as well as November 6-14.

“There are a few countries who we had approached and written to but we can’t confirm any at the moment. But we have to play matches during that window and our aim is to ensure we play against teams above us so that we also gain,” the CEO added.

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As of the FIFA rankings released on May 4, Harambee Stars are placed 78th.

Though the games against Angola and South Africa will not count as they will be off calendar, the match against Ivory Coast which might be played during the August FIFA window will be vital as they are placed 48th on the rankings.

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