The Kenya national team Harambee Stars will on Sunday 5th June take on the Red Devils of Congo in a 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at the Moi Internationals Sports Center (MISC) Kasarani.
In history of the two nations, this will be the seventh meeting in all competitions and Congo, the favorites in the match, stakes the claim for the dominance in the clashes.
In the previous six meetings, Kenya has won once, lost twice and drawn thrice. Kenya beat Congo 5 – 4 on Saturday 19 August 1967 in a friendly at City Stadium.
None of the coaches has recorded a win since taking over the jobs. Stanley Okumbi on Harambee Stars side has led the team in four matches; drawing twice and losing as many.
Pierre Lechantre, the Congo tactician has been in charge in three matches since taking over from Claude Le Roy in November 2015, he has drawn twice against Zambia in two legs of the AFCON qualifiers and lost 0 – 2 to Morocco in a friendly match.
Unlike the first meeting in June 2015 where Congo fielded mostly local based players, this time they have a majority of players based in France led by the 24-year-old Thievy Bifouma.
Kenya has their most of their key foreign based players led by Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama and Sweden based Michael Olunga.
While Congo has a chance of making it to the finals in 2017, Kenya has no chance at all and are featuring in the game just as a formality, and maybe for the rankings and national pride.
A win for Congo will see them rise to second spot in Group E on nine points, one below leaders Guinea Bissau who beat Zambia 3 – 2 on Saturday 4 June and will mean their last match against Guinea Bissau will be the decider on who tops the group.
A win for Kenya will mean Congo loses the direct slot for the finals. Guinea Bissau visits Congo in their last match in September as Kenya plays away to Zambia.
Congo were quarterfinalists in the 2015 AFCON finals while Kenya last made it in 2004 under the tutelage of Jacob Mulee.
The hosts Kenya are ranked at position 129 in the world with Congo sitting at position 60. While Kenya has 276 points, Congo has 560. On the continent, Kenya is position 41 while Congo is 11th.
The match will be run by Ghanaian referees. Joseph Odartei Lamptey will be at the center assisted by David Laryea and Malik Alidu Salifu as the first and second assistants respectively.
Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch, David Okello, Lucas Indeche
Defenders: Aboud Omar, Joseph Okumu, Eric Ouma, Eugine Asike, Joakins Atudo, David Owino, Musa Mohammed and Brian Mandela
Midfielders: Ismail Gonzalez, Jeffery Owiti, Francis Kahata, Victor Wanyama, Anthony Akumu, Cliffton Miheso, Eric Johanna, Paul Were, Ali Abondo, Ayub Timbe and Humphrey Mieno
Strikers: Michael Olunga, Jesse Were and Mark Makwatta
Goalkeepers: Christoffer Mafoumbi, Pavelh Ndzila, Fustel Mbouma
Defenders: Marvin Baudry, Francis Nganga, Igor Nganga, Lepicier Mael, Jordan Massengo, Clevid Dikomona, Carof Bakoua, Francis Nsenda, Yila Dibata Glory.
Midfielders: Delvin Ndinga, Prince Oniangué, Arnold Bouka Moutou, Chris Malonga, Fabrice Ondama, Durel Avounou, Merveil Ndockyt, Moise Nkounkou, Ankira Dua Stanislas
Strikers: Thievy Bifouma, Dominique Malonga, Golden Ferebory, Ibara Prince Vinny