Harambee Stars defender Musa Mohammed is confident that Kenya can rewrite history by making it out of Group "C" of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament which kicks off on June 21 in Egypt.
Mohammed, who turns out for Zambian top flight side Nkana FC, says that the dynamics of football have changed over the years, and that such tournaments provide a good opportunity for teams considered as underdogs to shine.
He also says that the support of Kenyans before, during and after the tournament is crucial for the team to achieve its ambitions.
“Qualifying for this tournament means a lot to me, to my fellow players and the country in general. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We are going back there for the first time in 15 years. That is a big deal," Mohammed said.
“Now that we are there, it is upon us as players to fight and make the country proud. I keep saying that football has changed and I will stick to that,” he added.
“It is very possible for underdogs to beat one that is considered very strong. It depends on hard work and the level of preparedness. So I think it is very possible that we shall get to the second round because that is the target we have set for ourselves.”
Mohammed spoke to Nation Sport shortly after completing a morning training session at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. The Nkana defender arrived back in Kenya a fortnight ago and has been training with the national team under coach Sebastien Migne at Kasarani.
The Zambia Super League, also known as MTN/FAZ Super Division due to sponsorship reasons, was due to conclude on Saturday, but Mohammed was allowed to come home early to sort out his documentation ahead of the next season beginning in August.
He has been a permanent fixture in the Harambee Stars squad for the last five years, and he played an integral role during Kenya’s qualification campaign.
For this, the former Gor Mahia and KF Tirana defender will be part of the 26 players who will leave the county on Friday next week for a 19-day training camp in France in preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
While there, Harambee Stars will play two friendly matches against Madagascar in Paris and Democratic Republic of Congo in Madrid on June 7 and June 15 respectively before making the trip to Egypt on June 19.
Kenya’s first match will be against Algeria on June 23 in Cairo, before they take on Tanzania four days later.
The game between Harambee Stars and Senegal will be the last group C match on July 1.