Morocco/Mali: Harambee Stars Leave for Morocco to Face Mali

National team Harambee Stars jet out of the country Monday evening for Morocco to play Mali in a 2022 Fifa World Cup Group ‘E’ qualifier match on Thursday.

Due to the lack of a standard Fifa approved stadium, Mali will host Harambee Stars at the 45,000 capacity Stade Adrar in Agadir from 10pm under floodlights.

The match will be played behind closed doors due to strict measures put in place by the host government to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Harambee Stars will host the reverse fixture on October 10 at Nyayo National Stadium.

Coach Engin Firat was Sunday evening expected to trim the 34-man squad to 27 players, who will form part of the travelling party, which includes members of technical bench and Football Kenya Federation officials.

Local-based Stars players have been in camp since last week. Firat said that the players who ply their trade outside the country will link up with the team on Tuesday in Morocco.

He said that they will only train with the team for two days before the match.

Stars are expected to train at the match venue with the final session being on Wednesday evening.

The Turkish tactician was employed on a two-month contract with the sole reason of ensuring Kenya heads to Qatar next year.

Last week, Firat said that his decision to travel with a big team was because of the uncertainty which has been surrounding the results of the coronavirus test.

In March, Al-Duhail striker Michael Olunga, Simba SC defender Joash Onyango, Zesco United goalkeeper Ian Otieno and Sofapaka midfielder Lawrence Juma were locked out of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Togo after it was claimed their coronavirus results were positive.

Stars won the match 2-1 but the result held no water as Kenya had already lost in the race to head to Cameroon.

“Our training has been good. I’m optimistic we will get a positive result in the game. I have had a short time to handle the team, but morale is high in the camp,” said Firat.

Kenya are second in Group “E” on two points, leaders Mali have four points, while Uganda are third on two points.

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