Kenyan president pledges support to soccer team

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-31 02:24:33|Editor: Mu Xuequan
Video PlayerClose

NAIROBI, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday assured football team of continued support because the country's comeback to the continental tournament marks an important milestone for the nation.

Kenyatta beseeched the players to always be at their best and to ensure they represent the country well while they are in Egypt for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals even if they do not win the event.

The AFCON is set to run from June 21 to July 19.

"It is not about winning but giving your best. That is the most important thing because you will be out there flying the Kenyan flag," Kenyatta told the players and the technical team when he presented the national flag to the team ahead of the continental championship.

The team will leave the country on Friday for Marcoussis, south of Paris, where they will pitch their training camp for three weeks.

During their stay in France, Harambee Stars will play two friendly matches against Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) before heading out to Cairo.

It is the first time in 15 years that Harambee Stars will be participating in the biennial event.

Kenya coach Sebastien Migne lauded the president for ensuring that the squad received full support throughout.

"We shall endeavor to represent the country well. Thank you for your support," said Migne who leads a 27-member team out of which 14 of his players are already in Europe.

Kenya will play its first game against Algeria on June 23 before facing Tanzania on June 27 followed by Senegal on July 1.

Qualifying for the championship, Harambee Stars played return matches against Sierra Leone, Ghana and Ethiopia and finished second in qualification Group C.

Amina Mohamed, cabinet secretary for sports, culture and heritage, said her ministry had disbursed more than 240 million shillings (2.4 million U.S. dollars) to facilitate the team's preparations.