What Kenya must do in Afcon battle
What Kenya must do in Afcon battle By Rodgers Eshitemi: 77 Sunday, October 7th 2018 at 00:14 GMT +3 | Football
MignÃ© eyes positive results as national team departs for crucial tie in Ethiopia.
National football team, Harambee Stars, now have a realistic chance of qualifying for next yearâs Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Cameroon.
Stars got the latest lifeline after the world football governing body Fifa banned Group F opponents Sierra Leoneâs Football Asso ciation from all activities with immediate effect due to government interference.
The Friday night decision comes after the countryâs Anti-corruption Commission (ACC) barred SLFA President Isha Johansen and Secretary General Chris Kamara from the governing bodyâs offices.
Fifa statutes forbid outside third-party interference in running of its members.
And as a result, the federation has lost all its membership rights with its national teams and affiliated clubs no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted.
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Sierra Leone, who are level on three points with all the other three Group F opponents after two matches, were expected to face Ghana in next weekâs back to back qualifiers before battling with Kenya in Nairobi on November 16.
The Leone Stars beat Keny a 2-1 in the opening fixture before falling by a solitary goal away to Ethiopia last month.
This means, the Walya Antelopes lose their three points as Sierra Leone foregoes the remaining fixtures in the newly composed three team group.
The top two teams in the group will automatically qualify for next yearâs finals in Cameroon.
âThis also means that neither the SLFA nor any of its members or officials may benefit from any development programmes, courses or training from Fifa or CAF.
âMoreover, and in accordance with art. 16 par. 3 of the Fifa Statutes, other member associations may not entertain sporting contact with the SLFA during its suspension,â read part of the statement from Fifa. Following the latest development, Sebastiene MignÃ©âs side needs at least four points from the remaining three matches to make a return to the continental showpiece, they last featured in 2004.
A win and a draw against the Ethiopians in the two-legged fixt ure on October 10 and October 14 in Bahir Dar and Nairobi respectively, will secure a continental ticket for Kenya with a game to spare.
âIt is not something to celebrate, but as far as I am concerned we now have destiny in our own hands.
âWe need to put our act together, offer all the necessary support to the team and ensure they get the deserved results.
âFour points in the remaining three matches are achievable,â Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa told The Standard Sports.
The first batch of the national team, composed of five local-based players and MignÃ© departed for Addis Ababa yesterday morning ahead of Wednesdayâs first leg tie against Ethiopia at Bahir Dar Stadium.
âOf course it wonât be easy against Ethiopia since they are also equally strong, but my players are up to the task and I am confident we will get a positive result,â said MignÃ© moments before departure.
The second batch will travel tomorrow morning, with foreign-based players also set to link up with the team in Bahir Dar on the same day.
Kenya can take an outright lead in the group if they can avoid defeat in Ethiopia on Wednesday.Related Topics: Africa Cup of Nations