By DAVID KWALIMWA
Kenya will have to defeat Ghana and Ethiopia to secure a chance of playing at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
This follows the competition’s qualification draw conducted by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) in Gabon on Thursday night.
The draw pit Harambee Stars against the West African powerhouse Ghana, who are four-time African champions and the finalists in the 2015 edition of the tournament which was held in Equatorial Guinea.
Also in Kenya’s pool are neighbours Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, which implies that Stanley Okumbi’s charges will have to negotiate two tricky trips to West Africa during the qualification campaign.
Kenya last qualified for this tournament in 2004 when it was staged in Tunisia, and current Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa has on several occasions insisted that it’s his priority to ensure the national team ends this embarrassing hoodoo.
Stars, who are captained by Tottenham midfielder Victor Wanyama, will have to top their group or finish among the three best second-placed teams in the 12 groups to be assured of qualification.
The qualification games, which will be played on a home and away basis will commenced in March and end in November 2018.
Group A: Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Sao Tome Príncipe/Madagascar
Group B: Cameroon, Morocco, Malawi, Comoros/Mauritius.
Group C: Mali, Gabon, Burundi, South Sudan.
Group D: Algeria, Togo, Benin, Gambia.
Group E: Nigeria, South Africa, Libya Seychelles.
Group F: Ghana, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Kenya.
Group G: DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Liberia.
Group H: Cote d’Ivorie, Guinea, Central Africa Republic, Rwanda.
Group I: Burkina Fassa, Angola, Botswana, Mauritânia
Group J: Tunisia, Egypt, Nigeria, Swaziland.
Group K: Zambia, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Namibia.