NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 22 – Harambee Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi believes Kenya’s draw for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers is tough, but doable.
Stars were drawn in Pool E with neighbors Rwanda, Uganda and West African side Mali for the first phase of qualification which kicks off in March.
“I believe to be honest it is a fair group for us. It is tough, but doable. We know Uganda very well and Mali as well we saw them at the Cup of Nations in Egypt. Rwanda is also another regional tough side. This will be closely contested group but I believe if we get our act right, we can manage something,” Kimanzi told Capital Sport.
Kenya has never qualified for the World Cup, but upon their first ever election in 2016, the current office led by Nick Mwendwa had said they will give a credible shot at attempting to qualify.
Reacting to the draw, Mwendwa said; “I believe we can do something here. It is a very balanced group and we will give our best shot for it.”
The qualifiers are set to kick off in March and will run back-to-back alongside the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations which were brought back after the change in calendar to allow Cameroon host the showpiece in January/February.
Kimanzi knows only too well it will be a tough task playing back-to-back matches but he believes he has put together a strong and deep squad for all the assignments.
“We have been working to get a big squad because we knew this year was going to be heavy on us and I am happy with what we have so far. We now only need to plan and prepare well for every game and take each match at a time,” Kimanzi stated.
Meanwhile, skipper Victor Wanyama has also reiterated the same comments, saying Stars can dream of a third round berth if they play with commitment and resilience.
The winners of each of the 10 groups will advance to the final play-off round where the teams will be drawn against each other to get the final five to represent Africa in Qatar in 2022.