Saturday Oct 09, 2021. 11:00
Kenya will be eager to bounce back from the heavy defeat they suffered earlier this week when they host Mali in a CAF second round 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Sunday. Kick-off is at 15h00 CAT.
Mali thumped their counterparts 5-0 in Agadir, Morocco on Thursday evening in what was new Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat’s first game in charge.
The Turkish mentor took over the reins from Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee last month on an initial two-month contract and his tenure got off to the worst possible start.
“I take the opportunity to apologise to Kenya fans [especially] for the first half,” Firat said on the Kenyan team’s arrival back in the country.
“If [fans] want to blame somebody then it should be me. But the [players] should be left to concentrate on [Sunday’s match against the same opponent]. I need the [players] to have their minds free… for the match.”
Ibrahima Kone bagged an impressive first-half hat-trick for Les Aigles who head to the Kenyan capital top of Group E on seven points after three rounds of fixtures. The Ugandan Cranes are two points back following their 1-0 win over Rwanda while Kenya have accumulated a mere two points from their allotted matches.
Mohamed Magassouba’s men have yet to concede a goal after three matches and held Uganda to a 0-0 draw in their only other away match of the qualifying campaign for Qatar 2022.
In head-to-head stats, Mali and Kenya have met in three previous matches. Prior to Mali’s convincing win this week, the other two meetings came in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.
The first ended in a 1-1 draw in February 1972, and the second saw Mali claim a 3-1 win in Bizerte, Tunisia, in January 2004.