Harambee Stars set to face Mo Salah's Egypt

By Agencies: Saturday, July 20th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Harambee Stars Erick Ouma (left) tackles Senegal's Ismailia Sarr during an Africa Cup of Nations match in Egypt on July 1, 2019. [Courtesy]

National football team Harambee Stars have been drawn to face Egypt in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying draw made in Cairo on Thursday.

Harambee Stars who made a return to the Africa Cup of Nations finals this year after a 15-year absence will be playing in Group G that also includes Togo and Comoros.

The first round of the matches will be played in November 7-11 and coach Sebastien Migen will be hoping to lead his team to the finals for the second consecutive time.

While Kenyans will be happy to watch Liverpool star Mohamed Salah when he leads his Egyptian team to Kenya, Harambee Stars will be hoping to finish among in the top two teams in the group to qualify for the finals in Cameroon.

On paper it seems an easy group for Stars with Egypt expected to dominate and finish as group winners leaving Kenya and Togo to fight for the second position.

Meanwhile, Algeria, who met Senegal yesterday in the Africa Cup of Nations final in Cairo, must travel virtually the length of the continent three times during the 2021 qualifying campaign.  The Desert Foxes were placed in Group H with three southern African states, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, when the draw was made in Cairo on Thursday. 

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There are no direct air links between Algiers and Lusaka, Harare and Gaborone, which will add to the travel time of a squad currently captained by Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez.

It is a good draw for Algeria though, as Zimbabwe flopped in the 2019 tournament, Zambia failed to qualify. 

Senegal, whose top player is Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, face a slightly less daunting travel schedule in Group I against Congo Brazzaville, Guinea-Bissau and eSwatini. 

The Teranga Lions should finish comfortable winners with Congo and Guinea-Bissau the likeliest contenders for the second qualifying place.    

Madagascar, whose qualification for the quarter-finals was the shock of the 2019 Cup of Nations, were put in Group K with the Ivory Coast, Niger and Ethiopia.  The Ivorians appear the probable table-toppers, while the Malagasys set out to prove they are not one-tournament wonders.

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