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Harambee Stars route to AFCON final if they beat Senegal tonight

FOOTBALL By Clinton Nyabuto | July 1st 2019
Harambee Stars players in training [Courtesy]

Harambee Stars take on Senegal in their last Group C match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Monday, July 1 at the 30 June Stadium in a mouthwatering clash in the Egyptian capital.

The match is scheduled to kick off at exactly 10:00 pm local time.

Stars head into the match in high spirits after a thrilling 3-2 comeback win against neighbours Tanzania on June 27 at the same venue.

On the other hand, the Lions of Teranga enter the tie limping following a 1-0 defeat courtesy of the Desert Foxes (Algeria), in a match where the West African side were considered favourites.

Perhaps Senegal would seek to redeem their pride as they meet Sebastien Migne’s side, who cannot afford to make any more mistakes, considering the manner in which the group is set.

Both having lost against Algeria, this encounter is expected to be a great battle, with each side wary of the possibility of exiting the tournament early.

The winner will snatch the second spot behind leaders Algeria and will face Uganda who confirmed a last 16 spot despite losing 0-2 to hosts Egypt.

Coach Sebastien Migne gives instructions to his assistants [Courtesy]

Though the Lions of Teranga are favourites, Harambee Stars have a big chance to pull off surprises, with Stars coach Migne saying Senegal lack mental strength.

“We know that they have never won an Africa Cup of Nations despite having the same qualities of players as the Cameroonians and Ivorians, who have already been crowned champions several times,” said Migne.

"For that, we have to question their mental strength,” Migne added.

Harambee Stars face a huge test to overcome the top-ranked ranked African nation in FIFA rankings but even so, Stars coach said his team will play with great enthusiasm.

"We will play our football with great enthusiasm and knowing that it is possible to qualify for the second round if we get the right result,” said Migne.

“We have nothing to lose and everything to gain against a team of the quality of Senegal, who have players of the highest level," added Migne.

A draw in the match will see Senegal claim the second spot as Kenya finish third and stand a chance to qualify as the best loser. However, this will be dependent on the results in the other groups.  

If Harambee Stars qualifies for the knockout stage, they will face the Cranes on Friday, June 5 at Cairo International Stadium.

The two sides have met 74 times - Harambee Stars winning 22 times while the Cranes won 30 times.

It will be a great opportunity for Stars to showcase their ability and claim bragging rights over its noisy neighbours.

At this point, Harambee Stars will have inched closer to the final.

The quarterfinal ties will be determined as the tournament continues.

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