Kenya’s early exit from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt has attracted mixed reactions from various stakeholders.
The national team is expected back in the country Thursday morning after failing to progress past the first hurdle at this continental championship.
Harambee Stars won only one of the three games they played, a 3-2 success against lowly Tanzania, and lost twice - 2-0 to Algeria and 3-0 to Senegal - in Group C matches played in Cairo.
Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa described the team’s performance as ‘disappointing’. And Mwendwa has vowed to work tirelessly to ensure the team improves and performs better in the forthcoming international engagements.
He specifically said he would work hard to ensure the team plays in next year’s Africa Nations Championships (Chan) in Cameroon, and the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament to be staged in Cameroon.
“It (the performance) is disappointing, we conceded so many goals. That’s maybe because we had two reliable defenders (ruled) out of action. We have not been letting in as many goals,” explained Mwendwa.
“Now we’ve learnt our lessons and will work hard to become a better team. With the support we are receiving from the government, I assure you we will qualify for the next Africa Cup of Nations in 2021.”
Mwendwa’s predecessor, Sam Nyamweya, meanwhile believes the team underperformed.
He said in a statement: “From the performance where we conceded seven goals (in three matches) which is among the highest in the tournament and only three goals scored, it is clear we lacked depth in the team. Why were some of the best players left out of the squad?”
Sports CS Amina Mohammed, captain Victor Wanyama and star forward Michael Olunga have thanked the fans for supporting the team.
Hosts Egypt swept into the last 16 of an expanded Africa Cup of Nations and were joined by the rest of the continent's elite. Newcomers Madagascar delivered the shock of the tournament by advancing as group winners after beating Nigeria in Group ‘B’.