Harambee Stars could be without injured duo of goalkeeper Patrick Matasi and winger Ayub Timbe when they take on Togo in their second qualifier match of 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, on Monday evening.
Matasi suffered a thigh strain, while Timbe aggravated a foot injury as Kenya held hosts Egypt to a 1-1 draw on Thursday in Alexandria in their first Group ‘G’ qualifier match.
Timbe flew to Belgium for treatment and is expected in Nairobi Saturday evening. Stars coach Francis Kimanzi has said he is waiting for medical reports for the two players but he indicated that the two will most likely miss Monday’s game against Togo.
“Matasi and Ayub are still being assessed by the medical team and will have to undergo late fitness tests in Kenya to determine if they will play a part in the Togo match,” Kimanzi told Nation Sport.
Kimanzi reserved special praise for former AFC Leopards and Posta Rangers custodian Ian Otieno who replaced Matasi, but was quick to add that the whole team did well on Thursday.
“I was impressed by Ian’s performance especially because he was called in abruptly following Matasi’s injury. Nonetheless football is a team sport and the overall performance of the team was good, we have noted a few areas we need to work and we believe that we can get a positive result against Togo come Monday,” he said
“We are impressed with every player in our camp even the ones that have not gotten a chance to show case their ability, all the positives that you see is a result and a reward for the entire team. It will be unfair to give credit to an individual in the expense of the entire team,” he added.
Kenya qualified for 2019 Afcon after almost a decade and half out, and Kimanzi is eager to guide the team back again to the continental showpiece set to be held in Cameroon in 2021.
“The result in Egypt was good for us, of course we could have wished to take all three points which wasn’t the case. Our focus is now on Togo on Monday, even though we will have to fly for more than 13 hours (from Egypt back to Nairobi) and we may only be able to train once before the match,”
“To us, there is no bigger achievement than the other as long as we can accumulate enough points to get through to 2021 Afcon and this is just the beginning of a journey that could be so possible if the spirit and the behaviour of our team remains the same,” he concluded.
Togo on the other hand kicked off their campaign on a sour note as they lost by a solitary goal to Comoros at home and will be eager to bounce back by registering a positive result against Kenya.
Comoros now top Group G with three points, while Kenya and Egypt have a point each and are second and third respectively.
Tickets for the match will go on sale on Monday morning. Tickets for the terraces will retail at Sh200 each while those for the VIP area will be going for Sh500 each.