NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27 – Harambee Stars defender Musa Mohammed says next month’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt will be an opportunity for Kenya to prove its worth that it is regaining a place as one of the best footballing teams in Africa.
Mohammed played an integral role as Kenya earned a place in the biennial championship in Egypt for the first time in 15 years and he says it is now up to the players to go to Cairo and prove they deserve to be there.
“It’s a prestigious opportunity and a huge honor not just for me but all players and Kenyans who support us. We are thankful because we have worked hard to earn this chance and now it is up to the players to work hard and show what we can do at the big stage,” the defender stated.
The former Gor Mahia skipper believes the team has what it takes to go pasty the group stages and he believes this feat can be achieved if the boys replicate the performance they gave during the qualifiers.
Kenya is drawn in Pool C alongside neighbors Tanzania, Algeria and Senegal.
“I think it is a fair group for us and the challenge is now to go and do our best. I have the belief that we can make it out into the round of 16 because we have a very good team and every player who has been called up is up to the task,” Mohammed noted.
Reflecting on his past season and a half in the Zambian Super League with Nkana, Mohammed says he is proud of his achievements especially winning a title as captain and he believes the best is yet to come.
“Definitely at first it is always tough settling in to a new culture, to a new league but luckily for me I had teammates who helped me settle quick. I won the Charity Shield in my very first month as a captain and I think for me that was a huge achievement,” the defender notes.
“As much as this season has been hard because we have not been able to do well domestically, I will count it as a success because of what we achieved in continental football. The team had not played in the Confederations Cup for such a long time and we managed to get to the quarter finals. That is no mean feat,”
“I believe we would have gone further and even got to the final, but we only missed it by an inch. There are so many positives we can pick from this season moving into the next calendar,” Mohammed further stated.
Nkana went into the Confederations Cup after losing out to Tanzania’s Simba in their final Champions League match. They went on to finish second in their group ahead of rivals Zesco United and Ghana’s Asante Kotoko.
In the quarter finals, they lost to Tunisia’s CS Sfaxien 3-2 on aggregate. They won 2-1 at home but lost the corresponding fixture 2-0 in Sfax to bow out.
“It was a worthy campaign for us with so many positives. We faced tough games home and away but we fought to get something,” he stated.
On his plans for the next season;
“We will not play continental football because we finished seventh in the regular season, but our target is to go back and regroup to fight better for the new campaign,”
“Whether or not I will still be there is not certain but If I will be there, my target is to win and collect more titles as a player. I still have one year left on my contract and if remain there, I want to give my best and see to it that we win a major title,” he added.
On his former club Gor Mahia continuing their dominance locally Mohammed says;
“I still follow their performances and as a former captain it gives me great pleasure to know that they are still dominating the league in Kenya. The last two seasons they have done what we always wanted to do as players before and that is qualify for the group stages of the Confederations Cup and I wish them all the best for next season.”