Football Football

Mandela ruled out of AFCON with injury

Medics attend to Brian Mandela after he picked up an injury during training at the National Rugby Centre in Marcoussis on Monday June 10, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

PARIS, France, June 10 – Harambee Stars head coach Sebastien Migne has been handed a major blow just 13 days to Kenya’s Africa Cup of Nations opener against Algeria after dependable defender Brian Mandela was ruled out after picking up a knee injury in training on Monday morning.

Mandela fell awkwardly on his knee, the same he has been nursing after surgery, following another knock picked up in club duty at his South African base with Maritzburg United.

“It can be problematic for the tournament because he (Mandela) is one of our key players. It’s like it; that is the life of football. We need to find another solution. It doesn’t feel good for him and for us.”

“We also have Musa who is injured and I will not take risk with him in the DR Congo friendly because the most important thing for us is the game against Algeria,” Migne told Capital Sport after the Monday session in France.

Mandela had been rushing to make a goal clearing tackle but landed awkwardly on his knee before letting out a painful yell with the entire medical team rushing to his aid.

The defender, who played a pivotal role in Friday’s friendly against Madagascar was carried off the training ground and walked with crutches as he went out to hospital in Paris where further scans were carried out to ascertain the seriousness of the injury.

“It is a huge problem for us because he is a key player but remember against Ghana we won without key players. It is always a problem for the coach but we will try to find a solution. What can I do? Only to be concerned with the ones who are available,” a dejected Migne further stated.

Harambee Stars defender Brian Mandela is helped out of the pitch after he picked up an injury during training at the National Rugby Centre in Marcoussis on Monday June 10, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Defender Musa Mohammed has also been out of the last two days of training after picking up a muscular injury in the Madagascar friendly but is expected to be back on Tuesday.

Aboud Omar also missed Sunday’s session but only as a precaution and was back in full swing on Tuesday.

In Mandela’s possible absence, Migne will look on the options provided by youngster Joseph Okumu, David ‘Calabar’ Owino, Joash Onyango and Vihiga United skipper Bernard Ochieng.

“We will start thinking about new options, maybe Joash will be back. For me it can be another chance for another player to show their quality,” stated the coach.

Migne is expected to name his final 23-man squad for the tournament later on Monday night with the final squad expected to be forwarded to CAF.

-Timothy Olobulu is reporting from Paris, France-