First-rate friendlies already lined-up for Stars as AFCON preps go up a notch

Harambee Stars’ 2019 AFCON preparations went up a gear on Monday 8 April after Football Kenya Federation (FKF) announced that it had received the final amount of the Kshs 244m that the Government through the Ministry of Sports had pledged for the team’s funding.

This now means that all the team’s plans are on the right track with FKF president Nick Mwendwa confirming that the federation has already contacted several countries over the possibility of playing friendlies, hoping that they are not paired at the group stages when the draw is done on Friday 12 April.

After draw

“Immediately after the draw, we have agreed with certain countries about playing friendly matches,” Mwendwa said on Monday during the launch of Splash World Limited as the latest partner.

“We will reveal the names after the AFCON draw; this will probably be on the 13th or the 14th hoping that we will not be paired in the same group.”

This could mean that FKF only looked at teams that have already qualified for this year’s tournament to provide Stars with the best and strongest possible matches to gauge their preparedness.

Mwendwa also confirmed that the plan to have the team camp in France is well on course and that the team will be in Paris for a duration of three weeks before jetting to Egypt.

“We are heading to Paris on 27th of May and leaving on 16th of June,” Mwendwa confirmed. “We will be there for three weeks and we will be at a very good facility that has hosted a number of top teams in the world.

Elite group

“We take our team there to make them also understand that they now belong to an elite group of footballing nations,” he concluded.

FKF had delivered a budget of Kshs. 244m for the team’s preparation to the Ministry of Sports and received Kshs 25m for the trip to Ghana for the final AFCON qualifier with the rest, Kshs 219m, being wired last week.

The monies will see the players receive hefty allowances for being in coach Sebastien Migne’s final squad for the tournament as well as for any win or draw in Egypt.