President Uhuru Kenyatta has congratulated the national football team, Harambee Stars, for qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The President said the qualification of the national team for the continental tournament, for the first time in 15 years, is an exciting achievement for Kenya’s football and assured the team of his maximum support.
“The success of our national football team is a game changer in our sports. We are proud of what our young people are doing to improve standards of game in the country,” said President Kenyatta.
The confirmation that Harambee Stars had qualified for the AFCON 2019 was announced after Friday’s extraordinary meeting of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Executive Committee in Accra, Ghana to determine the fate of Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone, who were in Group F of the qualifiers alongside Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia has not been able to play their last three matches due to a FIFA ban on their Football Association.
With just one round of group matches to go, CAF has decided to scrap all past results involving the West African nation leaving the group with only three teams.
Sierra Leone had only played two matches in the campaign and since they had accomplished less than half of the total qualification matches, CAF decided to nullify all the past results involving the country in accordance with the qualifying rules.
President Kenyatta said the Government, through the Ministry of Sports, will continue supporting the national football team as it prepares for the continental tournament.
“We know you are capable of winning this tournament. I assure you of my support and the Government will facilitate and provide you with the necessary resources to ensure you are well prepared for the task ahead,” President Kenyatta assured.
Earlier, Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, through his Twitter account, congratulated the national team for the qualification.
“This championship has eluded us for the past 15 years, I thank our boys for putting up a spirited fight against all the teams in their pool to see them qualify to represent Kenya,” the CS wrote.
Sports Principal Secretary Amb. Kirimi Kaberia said Kenyan sportsmen and women are an important brand asset for the country and encouraged Harambee Stars to aim for success in the tournament.
He said with the many reforms initiated by the Government and the support from President Kenyatta, the sports sector has witnessed major improvements, which have built confidence among the Kenyan youth to explore their talents fully.
PS Kaberia said the ongoing infrastructural improvements in sports facilities including renovation and refurbishment of Kenya’s second largest sports facility, Nyayo National Stadium, is a sign of what the Government of Kenya is determined to do to ensure the Kenyan youth excel in sports.