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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Ghana draws positives from shock
loss to Kenya in AFCON qualification

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Ghana winger Christian Atsu believes his side will bounce back from Saturday’s shock 1-0 defeat to Kenya to qualify for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon.

Despite having one player sent off for a bad tackle, Kenya held off Ghana to a historic win and restore their dwindling hopes of making the finals.

With Ethiopia facing Sierra Leone on Sunday in Addis Ababa, Kenya required a win to remain in contention after having lost their first match 2-1 in Freetown in June last year.

“The result is very disappointing for us but this is football. There are no longer giants and minnows in football, anyone can beat any team and Kenya just proved that,” said Atsu on Sunday in Nairobi.

“Kenya took their chance and scored when it mattered. They then sat back and defended well, especially after going down to ten men. They deserve the win. Ghana had opportunities, but never took them.”

However, Kenya coach Sebastian Migne warned against high expectations despite the win over Ghana.

“We are still far away from the top despite the win. We need to do more and dig deep to be able to draw any positives from the group. Our preparations are poor and the mentality of some players is wanting. But for those who played, I am proud of them.”

Migne will now prepare his side for Tuesday’s friendly against Malawi, who are stopping over in Kenya on their way home from playing away in Morocco.

Kenya will then face home and away fixtures against Ethiopia in October, before traveling to Accra to face Ghana, and will finish their group matches in November against Sierra Leone in Nairobi.

There are 12 groups in the AFCON qualifiers. Each of the 12 winners will secure an automatic berth to join Cameroon in the finals in 2019. Three best runners-up will also qualify to make up the 16 teams in the tournament.

Ghana’s coach Kwasi Appiah remains adamant his side will excel and top the group, and also secure qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He termed the loss to Kenya as unfortunate.

“The mistake lies with our attackers because we never took our chances. I believe Kenya did well but we could have done better with the chances we had. We still have a chance to turn around our campaign.”

             

 

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