Date set for Harambee Stars camp ahead of WC qualifiers
Harambee Stars local based players will assemble in camp ahead of their 2022 World Cup qualifiers on May 27, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa has revealed.
The women’s team Harambee Starlets will however hit camp first, ahead of their African Women Cup of Nations (AWCON) qualifiers although Mwendwa did not disclose the exact date.
This follows President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive on sports activities resumption with further guidelines from the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Health, after the ban in March which halted all sports activities.
“We will have Harambee Stars in camp from May 27, two weeks after the resumption of the FKF-PL (Football Kenya Federation Premier League) which kicks-off on May 12. The Harambee Starlets will start their camp even earlier. We are set from our side with the already laid down protocols. We are ready to swiftly take further guidelines from the Ministry of Sports once they are communicated,” said Mwendwa.
The lift of ban on sports by President Kenyatta was evidently the news Mwendwa was desperately waiting for, with the federation’s plans for the national teams hitting camp hanging o uncertainty before the announcement.
FKF had mooted a plan of taking Stars’ camp outside the country in the event of further delay, an option that also caused headache among the planners given the ever dynamic Covid-19 situations across the globe.
Harambee Stars open the Qatar 2022 campaign with a home match against Uganda Cranes next month, while Harambee Starlets have a first round qualifier against Tanzania, seeking to qualify for AWCON 2022 set for Morocco.
The AWCON will also act as qualification process for the New Zealand 2023 World Cup, which Mwendwa’s administration pointed to as their cardinal pledge for the second term of his presidency, soon after re-election last year.
With the recent exit of former Starlets coach David Ouma who had already named Starlets’ provisional squad for the duty before he was fired, the new coach Charles Okere needs enough time with the team which he is handling for the first time ahead of the qualifiers.
The Ministry of Sports is yet to give any directions on the restart of sports activities, a move expected this week with all federations keen to resume leagues.
A communiqué issued by the FKF Competitions Department on Saturday soon after Uhuru’s Labour Day address indicated the top tier would kick off on May 12 before other leagues follow on May 15th.
“Following the Presidential Address earlier today (May 1, 2021) and in consultation with both the FKF Leagues & Competitions Committee chairman and the FKF general secretary, we wish to inform you that plans are underway to have the league’s resume tentatively on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, for the Premier League and May 15, 2021, for the Super League and other leagues.
“We shall communicate the revised fixtures as soon as possible to enable clubs to prepare and plan accordingly,” read the statement.
It is expected quite a congested calendar will be released, with the federation hoping to finish the season which had only 16 rounds done by the time it was stopped as a measure against the spread of Covid-19.
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