Harambee Stars jetted back from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Thursday night and headed direct to Utalii hotel for residential camp ahead of their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group “F” qualifier reverse match against the Walya Antelope scheduled for Sunday at the Kasarani Stadium.
Stars, led by coach Sebastian Migne and captain Victor Wanyama, put on smiling faces as they walked out of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport international Arrivals Terminal at 7.10pm.
The team held Ethiopia to a 0-0 draw on Wednesday, a result coach Migne wants to build on as the race for a return to the continental showpiece after a 14-year absence gathers momentum.
“I am very proud of my players, it was difficult playing in an amazing atmosphere,” Migne told Nation Sport upon arrival.
He added: “We missed some opportunities in the first half, I think we deserved a draw but now we need to recover in two days for the second leg. We need to improve our link up offensively now that we are strong defensively in a few games we’ve played.”
Wanyama, who returned after missing the 1-0 win over Ghana due to injury last month, urged fans to turn up in large numbers on Sunday.
“The players showed character and strong mentality by managing the crowd from the start although it was not easy now we want to play good football and get three points on Sunday, realistically we’ve a chance but we’ve to stay humble and do our job on the pitch,” said the Tottenham Hotspurs midfielder.
The team was handed a big boost after the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) received Sh17.8 million of the Sh25 million they had requested for the two fixtures.
Additionally, the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Rashid Echesa gave a directive for free entrance in the match, a motivating factor according to FKF president Nick Mwendwa.
“We are thankful for the president's directive and the boys are happy he has done so, I am also informed we’ve been sent money we asked for to see us through this fixture,” said Mwendwa, who travelled with the team to Addis.