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Uhuru flags off H.Stars ahead of AFCON

Harambee Stars winger Paul Were with President Uhuru Kenyatta

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday challenged Harambee Stars to represent the country well as they prepare to take on African giants in the 2019 continental showpiece slatted for Egypt in June.

The President spoke when he flagged off the team at State House, Nairobi ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations which will to be held between June 21 to July 19.

While handing the national flag to the team, President Kenyatta told the players and the technical team to be good ambassadors for the country even if they do not win the trophy.

“It is not about winning but giving your best. That is the most important thing. You are out there flying the Kenyan flag,” said the President.

Kenya’s qualification and participation in AFCON is a major milestone for the country whose sports profile is on the rise. Photo/PSCU

The team which leaves the country Friday morning, will be based at Marcoussis, south of Paris where they will pitch their training camp.

During their stay in France, Harambee Stars will play two friendly matches against Madagascar and DR Congo before heading out to Cairo for the games.

It is the first time in 15 years that Harambee Stars is participating in the biannual event. The team was last at the championship in 2004.

Harambee Stars head coach Sebastian Migne thanked President Kenyatta for ensuring that the team received full support through the National Sports Fund.

“We endeavour to represent the country well. Thank you for your support,” said the coach who leads a 27-member team for the tournament in Egypt.

President Kenyatta signing the ball with Harambee Stars players ahed of AFCON

The President assured the team of continued support saying Kenya’s comeback to the continental tournament marks an important milestone for the country.

“A journey begins with a single step. The sports fund is the first step in ensuring that all our national teams are properly funded and supported,” said the President.

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Kenya will open its campaign against Algeria on June 23 before facing neighbours Taifa Stars of Tanzania on June 27 followed by Senegal on July 1.

Harambee Stars team posing for a photo with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House. PHOTO/PSCU

Before qualifying for the championship, Harambee Stars played return matches against Ghana, Ethiopia and one leg away to banned Sierra Leon  finishing second in qualification group C.

Sports , Culture and Heritage Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed who accompanied the team to State House said her ministry had disbursed over Ksh244 million to Football Kenya Federation to facilitate AFCON preparations.

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