The stakes are high as Kenya takes on neighbours Tanzania in what has been dubbed the East African Derby in African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2019 Group C match on Thursday night.
It is a must-win battle that will decide the AFCON 2019 destiny of Kenya’s Harambee Stars and Tanzania’s Taifa Stars.
The two East African nations will be hoping for the maximum three points on Thursday to put themselves in a strong position to qualify as one of the best third placed teams.
Harambee Stars and Taifa Stars lost their opening matches by an identical 2-0 result to Algeria and Senegal respectively, and will be seeking to bounce back with a win.
A loss for either side will mean an end to their AFCON 2019 campaign in Egypt.
Tanzanian lawmakers, who travelled to Egypt for the Senegal match, expressed their disappointment in the diet and allowances the National team squad get.
“It is important for our footballers to have enough food to face a team like Senegal,” said Tanzania’s National Assembly Speaker, Job Ndugai.
“Taifa Stars, the national team, represents the Tanzanian government. The government has to invest money in the national team,” added Juma Nkamia from the ruling party.
Kenya and Tanzania have a long rivalry history with a total of 44 matches played between them.
In the 44 meetings Kenya have won 20 games and drawn 14 while Tanzania have won 10 times.
Tanzania have won thrice in the last 10 meetings with Kenya; 2012, 2010 and 2007, both in Dar es Salaam. This means that Harambee Stars have never lost to Taifa Stars in the last 10 matches played outside Tanzania.
The two teams last met in the AFCON qualifiers in 2003 and Kenya drew 0-0 with Taifa Stars in Dar before thrashing them 3-0 in the return leg played in Nairobi.
David “Calabar” Owino to Start
The Zesco United defender is expected to come in after injuries confined Joash Onyango and Musa Mohammed to the bench.
Calabar has a point to prove to head coach Sebastien Migne and the entire team that he is the man who Harambee Stars missed when they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Algeria in the Group C opener.