Despite suffering an injury that has ruled him out of the 2019 African Cup of Nations, Brian Mandela will still play a crucial role, in motivating his team mates at the tournament, says the Kenya national team, Harambee Stars head coach.
The coach had to drop Mandela just a day before naming his final 23 – man team for the competition after he picked a training ground injury in France, and Migne has stated that it is hard to play without him.
While another good prospect in Joseph Okumu has been backed to fill the void perfectly, Migne admitted he will miss Mandela’s leadership skills on the pitch.
The Maritzburg United man had surgery on his injured knee on Wednesday and will join the team in Egypt ahead of the competition.
“Of course as a coach it is difficult to play without Brian; he is one of my leaders in the team and even more defensively but I am lucky because Okumu showed something good against DR Congo and there is always an opportunity for other.
“He had surgery and will join us in Egypt but we need to prepare him for the future. I can’t lament over his absence now, I have to focus on the immediate concerns. I need to find a solution, and to be positive,” the coach stated after the team’s first training session in Egypt.
His absence has also hit the team’s skipper, Victor Wanyama, but just like the coach he is confident in the capabilities of players available to replace him.
“Mandela is a key player in the team and to lose him was a big blow but then there is going to be an equally capable player to represent him. We have been with him and he remains an important player in the team, in terms of giving other players the needed motivation.
“We hope he recovers well,” Wanyama noted.
Kenya will open its campaign at the tournament with a game against Algeria on Sunday 23 June, then later face off with Tanzania and Senegal.