Kenya’s national football team Harambee Stars plays The Pharoahs of Egypt today in a Group G Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
The match at the Kasarani Stadium is a must-win for both teams.
Harambee Stars are yet to win a match in this campaign, and are third in the standings with just three points from four games. They must pick up all six points from the remaining two fixtures to have any chance of making it to Cameroon next year.
Harambee Stars have not defeated Egypt in their last five meetings in all competitions. However, with the AFCON place at stake, they might defy the odds and get maximum points.
Stars will be looking to replicate their 2018 feat when they beat Ghana for the first time in 15 years, en route to qualifying for the 2019 AFCON.
However, will Stars be able to outclass a well-oiled Egyptian machine that has brought on board every foreign-based professional including Liverpool star Mohammed Salah and Arsenal midfielder El Nenny? Only the whistle at the end of 90 minutes will tell.
Kenya on its part has left out some of its most experienced players including Victor Wanyama, Arnold Origi and Ayub Timbe. Head Coach Jacob Ghost Mulee opted for local-based players given their recent wins against South Sudan and Tanzania warm-up games.
In the look of things, Mulee could be on a transition period for the Stars with local-based players taking up the mantle from those who’ve been there.
But will the exclusion of speedy winger Timbe and veteran holding midfielder Wanyama be a blessing in disguise for the home team? Only time will tell.
Stars are most likely to field Al-Duhail in-form striker Micheal Olunga and KPL top scorer Elvis Rupiah upfront.
The duo can be deadly on paper but have never played together on the same field. This could pose a challenge as they try to jell in teamwork.
Masjoud Juma is also likely to get some play time with the other striker Erick Kapaito left out injured.
The Kenyan defence comprising Simba SC veteran Joash Onyango and Johnstone Omurwa will be tasked with stopping Mo Salah and Ahmed Tawfik.
Mo Salah has scored 23 goals for Liverpool this season and is likely to cause the nightmares for the defence at Kasarani.
Salah’s is likely to partner with Galatasaray forward Mostafa Mohamed who has been in good form.
The record seven-time AFCCON champions currently top Group G with two wins and a draw, each from four games. They are favourites to top the group.
The game will kick off at 7 pm.