The quest for places in the 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals will be on again starting Wednesday 23 March. One of the nations seeking to secure places at the tournament is Kenya.
Kenya will be taking on Guinea Bissau on Wednesday, the third match of the qualifiers in Group E, to be staged at the Estadio de 24 Setembro in Bissau.
The two nations have previously met twice in AFCON qualifiers. Guinea Bissau won the first meeting by a solitary goal on 4th September 2010 while Harambee Stars registered a 2 – 1 win on 3rd September 2011 in the return leg of the 2012 AFCON qualifiers.
Both countries have local coaches at the helm, a shared trend. Kenya’s 35-year-old Stanley Okumbi is new in the team. He only took charge in February after Scotsman Bobby Williamson was sacked when the new Football Kenya Federation (FKF) office took charge.
Guinea Bissau recently appointed 68-year-old Baciro Cande to replace Portuguese Paulo Torres who is serving a CAF ban for insulting a match official. Cande is also the head coach at top tier side Sporting de Bissau.
Both coaches will thus be making their touchline debuts for their national teams.
On the FIFA rankings, the two nations have a big gap, with Kenya the better ranked, at number 103 while Guinea Bissau are 147th. On the continent, Kenya is 27th points while Bissau is 45th.
In the last assignment, Kenya lost 0 – 2 to Cape Verde in a 2018 World Cup qualifier in while Guinea Bissau went down 1 – 3 to Liberia in a similar assignment in November 2015.
England based Victor Wanyama will lead Kenya while Bissau has France based Here Bucundji who turns out for French lower tier side Paris FC as the skipper.
Majority of Bissau players ply their trade in Portugal and France unlike Kenya where only eight of the 22 players play abroad.
Heading to the match, both teams have a point, this being picked on the first day of qualifiers as Kenya drew with Congo and Guinea Bissau also drew with Zambia.