CAIRO. Three of East Africa’s representatives will be in action today with the derby between Kenya and Tanzania the highlight at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) today.
The Harambee Stars and Taifa Stars will compete for the best glow at the 30 June Stadium as both seek to recover from identical opening 2-0 defeats in Group C.
This the first East African derby in Afcon history and also, the first time Cecafa teams are facing off at this stage in 43 years.
“Tanzania are our neighbours and it will be a difficult game,” Kenya striker Michael Olunga described the fixture during the pre-match press conference yesterday.
“We both lost our first game. Our option is three points! We learnt from our mistakes and we’ll correct them in the next game,” he said.
For Tanzania, who had last featured at Afcon in 1980, this is a do-or-die contest.
“The Kenya match is very important,” said coach Emmanuel Amunike. “We have to win in order not to lose hope of qualifying from this strong group. The Senegal match was a very important lesson for us.”
Former Nigerian player Amunike came under lots of scrutiny by the bookmakers following the 2-0 loss to Senegal on Sunday with the debate centred around his team selection.
Tanzania however must find more supply through Simon Msuva, Himid Mao and Raphael Bocco to captain Mbwana Samatta.
Kenya’s Sebastien Migne was left to rue Kenya’s poor start against Algeria on Sunday and he hopes Kenya can boss the midfield with lynch-pin Victor Wanyama building up play.
Unlike against Algeria, Olunga should hope for more touches on the ball at the front with support from Ayub Timbe, Francis Nyambura and Eric Omondi.
Kenya will be hoping for its second win in Afcon history to add to their 3-0 victory over Burkina Faso at Stade 15 Octobre, Bizerte on February 2, 2004.
Tanzania has never won a match at Afcon as they lost Nigeria and Egypt before drawing with Ivory Coast in 1980.
In Group B, Burundi kicks off the day’s action with a duel against Madagascar.
Do-or-Die. For Tanzania, who had last featured at Afcon in 1980, this is a do-or-die contest. “The Kenya match is very important,” said coach Emmanuel Amunike. “We have to win in order not to lose hope of qualifying from this strong group. The Senegal match was a very important lesson for us.”
Madagascar vs. Burundi, 5.30pm
Senegal vs. Algeria, 8pm
Kenya vs. Tanzania, 11pm
EAST AFRICA DERBIES AT AFCON
January 12, 1968:
Ethiopia 2-1 Uganda
February 6, 1970:
Sudan 3-0 Ethiopia
February 29, 1976:
Ethiopia 2-0 Uganda