mo4ch:> Covid-19 and Kenya fixtures: When will Harambee Stars resume Afcon qualifiers? | Mo4ch News - Mo4ch News


Friday, May 8, 2020

mo4ch:> Covid-19 and Kenya fixtures: When will Harambee Stars resume Afcon qualifiers? | Mo4ch News

Round three matches were indefinitely postponed after it became clear there was no way they were going to be played owing to the coronavirus

The emergence of the novel Covid-19 pandemic forced football governing authorities to postpone or entirely cancel their scheduled fixtures.

This was not different for Caf who had to cancel Round Three action of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. These matches had been scheduled to take place between March 25 and 31 but they had to be postponed as governments took respective measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Kenya were to host Comoros at Kasarani for Group G action but it did not happen as the Kenyan government moved to ban all conferences and meetings of more than 15 people for a month.

The return tie against the island nation had been planned for a week later. In the penultimate round, a home game against Egypt was to be played between October 5 and 13, 2020. In the final qualifier, Kenya were to head to Lome for a date with the hosts.

Caf directives in place

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) had to request Caf to postpone the Kenya vs Comoros tie given the government ban on public gatherings which had been effected.

“We have written to Caf seeking to have the upcoming qualifier against Comoros postponed to a later date owing to the coronavirus,” FKF president Nick Mwendwa told Goal at the time.

“We are acting as per the directive from the government which banned all meetings involving over 15 people and we have explained to Caf the directive from the government.

“We don’t want to take a risk now that most of the players in the Comoros squad play in France and it is one of the countries which has been affected hard by the virus. We are over 45 million people and it will be wrong if the first case of the coronavirus is detected in Kenya because of football.

“We are hoping Caf will listen to our request and call off the match but if they don’t, then we will wait for the government to give the way forward.”

Egypt's Ahmed Fathi (L) in action against Kenya and Harambee Stars player Ayub Timbe.

Indeed, after the tie was postponed and consequently, Kenya had to break camp where locally-based players had been summoned for the Comoros visit.

“Several African governments have taken strong restrictions on travels; lockdown, quarantine for people coming from countries affected by the virus. Several clubs refuse now to release their players for the next international matches," Caf said then as they postponed the scheduled matches.

“For the above reasons and after studying carefully the current situation, Caf has decided to postpone the Total Africa Cup of Nations 2021 qualifiers, scheduled from 25 to 31 March 2020.”

Kenya, second on the log, had played and drew against African giants Egypt away and at home against Claude Le Roys' Togo.

Mahmoud Kahraba scored the opening goal in the first half for Egypt before Michael Olunga levelled for Harambee Stars, who have had a bad run against the Pharaohs, with 20 minutes remaining on November 14 in Alexandria.

The second match saw Kenya fail to beat Togo and go top of the group as they chase back-to-back tickets to the continental showpiece.

Francis Kimanzi's side would have taken the group lead after Egypt and Comoros drew 0-0 in their respective match.

Had Kenya held tightly onto their 1-0 lead after Johanna Omollo had scored, things would have been different but they later relaxed and saw Hakim Oura-Sama equalise for the Squirrels in Nairobi.

Move to cancel matches praised

Although Kimanzi had the chance to continue with a somewhat good start into the campaign, he supported the move to cancel the matches.

“That is a major concern but you see we cannot take a risk when it comes to health issues because sports is all about health and for you to perform at a high level you need to be very fit and healthy,” Kimanzi told Goal.

“If there is anything to do with some health security information, I don’t think there is anything we can do about it.”

Joash Onyango of Kenya and Harambee Stars vs defends against Peniel Kokou of Togo.

Kenya were expected to build on the inspiration they had from the draw against Egypt and face the remaining matches energised.

Article continues below

Comoros are leading the Group with four points after two matches while Harambee Stars and the record African champions Egypt are second and third respectively with two points.

Kenya stand above Egypt courtesy of two goals to their name while Togo are last with a point earned from their Nairobi visit.

It is not clear when Caf will reschedule the Round Three matches given that most football activities in Africa and worldwide remain halted from a coronavirus-related suspension.

Source : Football News, Live Scores, Results & Transfers |

Covid-19 and Kenya fixtures: When will Harambee Stars resume Afcon qualifiers?

Covid-19 and Kenya fixtures: When will Harambee Stars resume Afcon qualifiers?