Six wins in 17 games should be a worry for any national team and that was what Harambee Stars gave us in 2019.
There were highs in 2019 as there were lows. In participating in friendlies, African Cup of Nations, CHAN Qualifiers and even CECAFA, Stars had one of the busiest years in recent times and the Football Kenya Federation should get a pat on the back for seeing the team get busy when it mattered.
But football isn't about being busy, its the outcome that mattered and Stars failed in this aspect.
For Stars, the year started on March 23rd when they were to take Ghana in their last group game of the 2019 AFCON Qualification process. Having secured their place in Egypt, it was another chance to honor a game that they were to lose by a solitary goal.
Two friendlies were to follow in the month of June. These came after the government of Kenya had approved a juicy budget to facilitate their AFCON preparation and participation. While camping in France, they were to beat Madagascar and draw DR Congo but lost Brian Mandela in the process; the defender was to miss the continental showpiece after a surgery.
African Cup of Nations
Came the AFCON in July where Kenya participated in three group games against Algeria, Tanzania, and Senegal. Their only win came against their neighbors Tanzania with the other two ending in losses. Ousted from the competition, pressure started mounting on head coach Sebastien Migne.
The Frenchman fate was to be sealed when he was denied a chance to make it to Cameroon for CHAN 2020 after going down to Tanzania in a two-legged affair staged in July and August; FKF replacing him with his assistant Francis Kimanzi.
Kimanzi's first assignment as the head coach came in the month of September as Stars was held to a 1-1 draw by Uganda in Nairobi. His second game ending in a loss against Mozambique; all the games being friendlies.
When serious business knocked at the door of Kimanzi in November, the former Mathare United coach didn't disappoint. He began his 2021 AFCON Qualifiers with a 1-1 draw against Egypt in Alexandria in what a perfect start. He was to replicate the same outing against Togo four days later in a game they had been billed to win.
Stars were to wind up their year by participating in the 2019 CECAFA Championship where they finished third. The championship bore four wins two against group opponents Tanzania, one each against Sudan and Zanzibar.
2020 awaits with Stars' first serious challenge being in August against Comoros in the AFCON qualification process.
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