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'Harambee Stars will do well with early preparations'

03 January 2014, 11:00

Nairobi - Football lovers, disappointed by the country missing out on yet another major continental event have urged the Football Kenya Federation FKF to begin preparations for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

The calls come ahead of the African Nations Championship CHAN in South Africa.

The tournament, where only locally-based footballers participate, begins January 11 with Kenya conspicuous with their absence.

A total of 16 countries namely Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Congo, Gabon, Congo DR, Burundi, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique will participate.

“For a country like Kenya to miss out on CHAN 2014 while countries such as Burundi, which is ranked lower, go to South Africa to represent East Africa is painful. While I wish both Burundi and Uganda well for the tournament, I urge the local soccer federation to amend its errors before 2015,” Morgan Mbandi, a local football fan said.

Rudolf Ngugi on the other hand said Burundi and Uganda deserved to be representatives of East Africa at the expense of Kenya as they made adequate preparations.

“Burundi and Uganda qualified by merit, but Kenya fumbled with the preparations. We won the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) in December, and it would have been better to round up with a CHAN final in South Africa,” Ngugi said.

Mildred Wanyonyi said FKF should ensure that Kenyan football clubs participating at the Africa club competitions were at their best to avoid further embarrassment.

“We have done very well in athletics and rugby, but it is in football where Kenya must challenge the so-called soccer power-houses of African football. We cannot keep rebuilding the national team forever. We need to consolidate the victories that we recorded at the just ended CECAFA so that Kenya also becomes a force to reckon with in East Africa,” Wanyonyi said.

While they have done well in the CECAFA Cup, winning it six times, Kenya are perennial underachievers in the continent.

They last qualified for the Africa Cup of Nation in 2004 but did not go beyond the first round.

- CAJ News

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