Goal can exclusively reveal that Kenya’s national team will not play any friendly duel during the upcoming international break
Th Football Kenya Federation has confirmed the national team, Harambee Stars, will not be involved in any friendly matches in the upcoming international break later this month.
The Fifa break is always set aside to allow national teams from affiliated countries to gauge their players ahead of any upcoming major competitions including the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers.
While neighbours Tanzania and Uganda have already fixed friendly matches against Malawi on June 11 and South Africa on June 10, respectively, Kenya will not be active and according to FKF CEO Barry Otieno, they are planning to use the two-week period to finish the FKF Premier League 2020-21 season and the FA Cup competition as per the Caf calendar.
What has been said?
“We will not have any matches lined up for the national team Harambee Stars this international break simply because we have a very tight schedule ahead of us in terms of the top-flight tier and also the domestic cup,” Otieno told Goal on Tuesday.
“We want to make sure the league is played to the end before any eventualities hit us again and also we want to have a winner for the FA Cup determined this season, so we will use the Fifa period to play domestic cup matches and any other league matches that will be lined up.
“Our calendar was running smoothly until it was abruptly interrupted by the suspension of the league occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic and now we need to work hard, recover the time wasted, and then move from there. Caf has asked we try our best and have the league end as scheduled in August and that is what we are striving to do.”
Otieno has further said with Caf pushing the World Cup qualifiers kick-off dates to November, it was a blessing for Kenya as they have more time to finish the league and domestic cup and then shift focus to the national team.
“The decision by Caf to push forward World Cup qualifiers was good news for us because it gives us extra time to recover and speed up the conclusion of the league,” Otieno continued.
“It will also give the technical bench of national team humble time to check, study and monitor the fitness level of players now that the league is on and help them make a good choice towards naming a strong squad for the qualifiers in November.”
In the World Cup qualifiers, Kenya, who are seeking to qualify for their first-ever finals, have been drawn to face Uganda, Mali, and Rwanda.
As per the fixture roster from Caf, Kenya will face the Cranes in their opener on November 11 before hosting Rwanda’s Amavubi in Nairobi a week later.