Football Football

Kenya to face Senegal, Algeria in 2019 AFCON

Harambee Stars head coach Sebastien Migne (centre) with Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa (left) and Secretary General Robert Muthomi (right) in Cairo, Egypt before the 2019 African Cup of Nations draw on April 12, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

CAIRO, Egypt, Apr 12 – On their return to the king’s table of African football for the first time in 15 years, Kenya’s Harambee Stars have been pooled alongside neighbors Tanzania, Algeria and Senegal in Group C for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations which kicks off on June 21 and runs all the way to July 19.

Kenya will play its matches at the 30th of June Stadium in Cairo and kick-off their campaign against Algeria while Tanzania who qualified on the last day with a 3-0 win over Uganda will start their campaign against Algeria.

The two sides will clash on June 23 in the late kick off at 10pm with Senegal and Tanzania opening up the group in the early kick off at 7pm.

After Algeria, the Harambee Stars will face off with Tanzania in the East Africa derby on June 27 before winding up the group stage matches with a tie against Riyad Mahrez and his Algerian brothers on July 1.

-Top two advance

The top two teams from each of the six groups will advance to the round of 16 and will be joined by the four best ranked third placed teams from across.

The Kenya v Tanzania tie will be the most interesting match-up in the group, making up an East African derby with the Taifa Stars qualifying for the first Cup of Nations in 39 years.

This will not be the first time that Kenya, playing in its fifth AFCON, will be pooled against Senegal. The two sides played in the same group at the 1990 Cup of Nations that involved eight teams with the tie ending 0-0.

Among those in the Senegalese squad at that time were Souleyman Sane, father to Manchester City starlet Leroy Sane who has now chosen to represent his mother’s native country, Germany. Also in the Senegalese squad at that time were the likes of Jues Bocande, Mamadou Diallo and Moussa N’Diaye.

Kenya’s squad had legends Mike Okoth Origi, father to Liverpool and Belgium star Divock Origi, his brother Austin Oduor, John ‘Shoto’ Lukoye, Micky Weche, Henry Motego and Peter Dawo.

-Runaway favorites

Algeria and Senegal are seen as runaway favorites in the group especially with Senegal being the best ranked African team.

The draw will give for some friendly fire when Senegal meets the Harambee Stars with best of friends Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane who played together at Southampton clashing. The two are also captains of their favorite teams.

Meanwhile, neighbors Uganda have also landed in a tough group that involves the hosts Egypt in Pool A. They will also clash with DR Congo and Zimbabwe.

Burundi, in their maiden appearance at the Cup of Nations are in Pool D and will be alongside fellow debutants Madagascar, Guinea and Nigeria.

Group A matches will be played at the Cairo International Stadium, Group B matches in Alexandria, Group C matches at the 30th of June Stadium, Group D at the Al Salaam Stadium in Cairo, Group E in Suez while Group F matches will have their games in Ismailia.

Harambee Stars fixtures in Cairo:

June 23 v Algeria, June 27 v Tanzania, July 1 v Senegal

2019 African Cup of Nations Groups

Group A: Egypt, DR Congo, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Group B: Nigeria, Guinea, Madagascar, Burundi

Group C: Senegal, Algeria, Kenya, Tanzania

Group D: Morocco, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Namibia

Group E: Tunisia, Mali, Mauritania, Angola

Group F: Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Guinea Bissau