Johanna: We don't fear Mane, Mahrez

Thursday June 13 2019

Harambee Stars midfielder Eric Johanna celebrates his goal with Dennis Odhiambo (left) and Abud Omar (right) during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on October 14, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Harambee Stars midfielder Eric Johanna celebrates his goal with Dennis Odhiambo (left) and Abud Omar (right) during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on October 14, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

DAVID KWALIMWA
By DAVID KWALIMWA
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Harambee Stars midfielder Eric Johanna asserts the team will neither be carried away nor develop cold feet when facing some of the world's biggest football teams and star players at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Meanwhile, the government on Wednesday afforded Kenyans an opportunity to watch their national team compete at this biannual continental sporting showpiece for free by announcing that all the matches will be televised by the national broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC).

Stars, coached by Frenchman Sebastien Migne, will make a return to this competition, considered the cream of African football, for the first time in 15-years.

Kenya is one of the 24-teams taking part in this competition which will be staged in the Cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Suez, and Ismailia, between June 21 and July 19.

Johanna spoke on Wednesday at the team's camp in France during an interview with Football Kenya Federation's media team.

Kenya will play bigwigs Senegal, Algeria and neighbours Tanzania in her Group 'C' fixtures which Johanna says will enable the squad to test their skills against the likes of English Premier League stars Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez.

This duo is attached to Liverpool and Manchester City respectively.

"This competition will offer us an opportunity to market Kenyan football and we are up for that task," the former Mathare United midfielder explained.

"Yes, we will face Mahrez, who has just won the English League, and Mane who is a Champions League winner, but we also have Victor (Wanyama) who has played at those levels. We will not shy away from the assignment, it will inspire us to work harder."

The play-maker, who plies his trade at Sweden's second tier side IF Brommapojkarna, also revealed how the squad was inspired to step up their game by neighbours Uganda's recent impressive form on the continent.

"We looked at Uganda qualifying for the last Nations Cup after waiting for 30-years and said, 'wait a minute this is possible' that is when we sat down as players with the Federation and tried to come up with ways to ensure we qualified for this tournament as well. Now that we are here, the next level is to perform well."

Kenya will travel to Cairo on June 19 but before that, the team is set to face DR Congo in Madrid on Saturday.

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