Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised national football team Harambee Stars maximum support ahead of their first appearance at the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) since 2014.
Pending an official communique from the continental football body CAF, Stars are through to the Cup of Nations after Tuesday’s Extra-Ordinary Assembly made a unanimous decision to suspend Sierra Leone from the qualifiers due to their FIFA ban.
That means that Sierra Leone’s matches will be struck off from Group F and that will leave Kenya at the top of the qualifiers with seven points, one ahead of Ghana and six ahead of Ethiopia with one round of qualification left.
“The success of our national football team is a game changer in our sports. We are proud of what our young people are doing to improve standards of game in the country,” said President Kenyatta in a statement to newsrooms on Monday.
President Kenyatta said the Government, through the Ministry of Sports, will continue supporting the national football team as it prepares for the continental tournament.
“We know you are capable of winning this tournament. I assure you of my support and the Government will facilitate and provide you with the necessary resources to ensure you are well prepared for the task ahead,” President Kenyatta assured.
The promise by the president tops up his deputy William Ruto’s earlier promise of gifting the team Sh50mn if they qualify for the Cup of Nations as well as accompanying them to the finals.
Ruto made the promise last year after the team won the CECAFA Senior Challenge and reiterated his words before Stars’ home game against Ethiopia which they won 3-0 to cement their qualification.
CAF Is yet to make a decision on where the 2019 showpiece will be held after Cameroon was stripped of the rights due to ill preparedness.
Morocco and South Africa are touted to host the biennial championship with CAF having approached the latter to host the event which will be expanded to 24 teams for the first time ever.