State broadcaster secures free to air AFCON rights

By Odero Charles: Thursday, June 13th 2019 at 10:02 GMT +3 | Sports
President Uhuru Kenyatta hands over the National Flag to the Harambee Star football team heading to Egypt for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) at State House, Nairobi. [photo courtesy]

The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation has acquired exclusive broadcasting rights for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament which will be held in Cairo from June 21 to July 19.

A record 24 teams will participate in this year's event.

As part of the agreement, the State broadcaster will air live all 52  matches- where Kenya will be facing West African giants Senegal, Algeria and Tanzania in Group C of the tournament.

The tournament will also be broadcasted on 22 state-owned radio stations.

“The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) has acquired exclusive terrestrial free-to-air broadcast rights for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) which kicks off on June 21 to July 19 in Cairo, Egypt,” read part of Government’s statement.

Kenyans sighed with relief when Harambee Stars qualified for the 2019 African Cup of Nations after 15 years.

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The team is currently preparing for the tournament in France.

They played their first test match against Madagascar in an international friendly on June 7 in Paris.

The Sebastian Migne–led team edged out Madagascar 1-0.

Victor Wanyama scored the only goal from a second-half penalty after Patrick Matasi had denied Madagascar a goal from a penalty.

Madagascar are one of the teams that will participate in the tournament for the first time and are expected to give Stars a run for their money.

Another friendly match is scheduled for June 15 against Democratic Republic of Congo in Spain.

Harambee Stars celebrate in a past match. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Final team

Defender Brian Mandela is currently ruled out of the continental showdown after sustaining a knee injury in training.

Zambia-based midfielder Teddy Akumu, Clifton Miheso, who plies his trade in Portugal and Christopher Mbamba will also not feature as they were dropped from the final squad.

Captain and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama, Ismael Gonzalez (Spain), Dennis Odhiambo of Sofapaka, Paul Were (AFC Leopards), Johannah Omolo (Belgium), Eric Johannah (Sweden) and Francis Kahata will control the midfield.

David Owino "Calabar" of Zesco United, Musa Mohamed of Nkana FC, Joseph Okumu (USA), Joash Onyango, Philemon Otieno (Gor Mahia) Eric Ouma (Sweden) and Aboud Omar will shoulder defensive responsibilities.

Japan-based striker Michael Olunga will lead China-based Ayub Timbe, youngster Ovella Ochieng, who plays in Sweden, Sofapaka's John Avire and Masud Juma.

Kenya are in Group C alongside Senegal, Algeria and Tanzania.

They play their last group match against West African football powerhouse Senegal on July 1.

Kenya will hope to improve on their 2004 performance.

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