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Harambee Stars line up South Sudan, Tanzania friendlies ahead of 2021 AFCON qualifiers

FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | February 24th 2021
Centre referee Mutaz Ibrahim from Libya giving instructions to Harambee Stars during the Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier against Comoros at Kasarani stadium. Nov 12, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

National football team Harambee Stars have lined up three friendly matches in preparation for next month’s 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against joint group G leaders Egypt and Togo.

Stars, whose local-based players resumed non-residential training on February 8, are expected to clash with South Sudan in their first friendly match on March 13 at Nyayo National Stadium. Kenya will then play Tanzania’s Taifa Stars twice on March 15th and 18th in Nairobi.

The Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee trained side is currently third in the group with three points, five behind the joint leaders (Egypt and Comoros).

They will host Egypt in Nairobi on March 22 before flying out to Lome for their final group tie against bottom rooted Togo on March 30.

Some of the local-based players who have been training twice every week under the tutelage of Mulee since February 8th include the on-form FKF Premier League attacking trio of Erick Kapaito (Kariobangi Sharks), Elvis Rupia (AFC Leopards) and Henry Meja (Tusker).

Comoros striker Ahmed Mogni celebrates a goal in front of the camera during an Africa Cup of Nations Qualifier match against Harambee Stars at Kasarani Stadium. Nov 12, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Other players in the 28-man provisional squad include new call ups Joseph Okoth, Nahashon Alambi (KCB), Bonface Onyango (Kariobangi Sharks) and Gor Mahia's John Macharia.

Speaking early in the month after announcing the squad, Mulee said the competition level in the domestic league is going to be beneficial to the national team.

"It was difficult to engage the local-based players in the team against Comoros because they didn't have match fitness. It's going to be nice to watch them closely and hope to have at least one friendly before we play Egypt and Togo," said Mulee.

Harambee Stars upcoming assignments:

Kenya v South Sudan-Nairobi (March 13, International friendly)

Kenya v Tanzania-Nairobi (March 15 and 18, International friendlies)

Kenya v Egypt-Nairobi (March 22, Afcon Qualifiers)

Togo v Kenya-Lome (March 30, Afcon Qualifiers)

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