Focus on Africa Nations Cup qualification, not World Cup, says Kenya coach Migne

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-01 21:41:12|Editor: Li Xia
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NAIROBI, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Kenya national football team head coach Sebastian Migne has called on Kenyans to manage their expectations over possible qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Speaking in Nairobi on Thursday, Migne said FIFA's decision to increase the number of teams at the World Cup from the current 32 to 48 was correct, and has made local fans excited about the notion of qualifying for the tournament for the first time.

But Migne is grounded to the fact that Kenya first need to qualify for the Africa Nations Cup (AFCON) and the Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) to have any hopes of breaking the jinx and joining the major players at the World Cup.

"I am a realistic coach and want to develop my team gradually," said Migne.

"What is important now is to make the cut for the finals of the AFCON in Cameroon next year."

Kenya has never qualified for the World Cup and the last time it appeared at the AFCON was in 2004 in Tunisia.

Speaking in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Wednesday, FIFA President Gianni Infantino told the Asian Football Confederation's congress that plans are afoot to fast track the planned expansion by four years and have 48 teams in Qatar.

This would see Africa's current allocation of five teams increase to nine, and Migne is happy it will increase the country's hopes of making it to Qatar.

"Currently, it is hard because we have only five slots. But should they increase it to nine, we have a chance," added Migne.

Kenya is just one win away from making the cut for Cameroon, and face Sierra Leone this month in the AFCON qualifiers.

There are 12 groups in the qualifiers and only the best two teams in each group will join Cameroon in the finals in June.

Migne has recalled China-based winger Ayub Timbe to his squad to play Sierra Leone after the Beijing Renhe star completed a three-match ban.

Timbe played in the first leg against the West Africans but was slapped with the suspension after receiving a red card.

Migne has also named the uncapped England-based duo of Henry Ochieng and Jonah Ayunga, with the latter having earned a national team call-up in 2016 when Kenya played a friendly against Uganda in Kampala.

Striker Masoud Juma, now playing in the United Arab Emirates, has also earned a return to the team after settling in well with his new club.