NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s national soccer team coach Sebastien
Migne says his side is under pressure to win as he takes up his
first major assignment with the Harambee Stars when they face
Ghana’s Black Stars in Nairobi on Saturday.
The Frenchman takes
charge of the national team in a major competition for the first
time. He will start on a precarious note as his side must avoid
defeat to hold any hopes of making it to the finals of the
Africa Nations Cup in Cameroon in 2019.
Migne has expressed
satisfaction with the players’ fitness and motivation ahead of
the all-important clash. “We are working on getting ready for
the match. Ghana will pose a tough challenge but I have trust in
my players and I’m confident they will get a positive result,”
Migne said on Tuesday in Nairobi.
To revive their
hopes of qualification, Kenya needs maximum points against
Ghana, who are top of Group F. The Africa Nations Cup qualifiers
started in 2017 but Kenya lost 2-1 to Sierra Leone in Freetown
while Ethiopia went down 5-0 to Ghana in Accra. Only the 12
group winners and the three runners up with the most points will
join Cameroon in finals.
Kenya last competed
in the AFCON finals in 2004 in Tunisia and Migne was appointed
with a specific clause inserted into his four year contract to
try and help Kenya qualify for the World Cup or the Africa
Nations Cup. Migne has five days to prepare his side in a
training camp in Nairobi. The majority of the players who are
based overseas are due in on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The scramble for a
ticket to the finals is brutal with former champions pitted
against each other. In the other groups Cameroon, who qualify
automatically as hosts, are in Group B alongside 1976 champions
Morocco, Malawi and Mauritius. In Group J, record seven-time
winners Egypt lead North African rivals Tunisia, who won in
2004. Two-time winners Nigeria are in the same group as South
Africa in Group E.
Group G also
features a clash between neighbors Congo and the Democratic
Republic of Congo, with both sides having previously lifted the
trophy. Should the Indomitable Lions top their group, the
second-placed side in Group B will contest the finals.