NAIROBI, (Rahnuma): Kenya’s national football team coach Sebastian Migne has opted to gamble on the fitness of Chinese club Beijing Renhe striker Ayub Timbe, naming him together with rookie John Avire and uncapped Swedish-born Chris Mbamba in Kenya’s 30-man provisional squad for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Timbe has not played competitively since being injured in December 2018 and lacks match fitness, but Migne is confident the China-based forward will use Kenya’s training camp in Paris next month to get back into shape.
“The AFCON squad largely consists of players who took part in the qualification phase. Ayub Timbe has also been included, after sitting out the final qualifying match against Ghana through injury,” Migne said on Tuesday in Nairobi.
The 26-year-old attacking midfielder underwent surgery on a damaged knee on January 3.
The AFCON will start in Egypt from June 21 to July 19, with 24 teams having qualified for the final tournament. Cameroon are the defending champions, after beating Egypt in the 2017 final.
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama will retain his captain’s armband as the Harambee Stars are set to feature at Africa’s largest continental football tournament for the first time in 15 years.
Kenya will jet out to Paris on May 31 and will train at the French Rugby Federation’s Marcoussis Cedex complex, where they will hold a 19-day residential camp. Migne said the team will stay in Paris until June 18, before shifting base to Cairo, five days before their opening Group C match against Algeria. The other teams in the pool are Senegal and Tanzania.
Kenya is also set to play friendly matches against Madagascar on June 7 and Gambia on June 15.
After Kenya’s first AFCON match against Algeria on June 23, they play Tanzania on June 27, before winding up their group stage matches against Senegal on July 1.
Migne has also named a 32-man provisional squad for the upcoming Africa Nations Championships qualifiers, with Kenya set to face Burundi in the first round in August.
The winner of the two-legged tie will play either Tanzania or Sudan in the second and final qualifying round for the tournament, set to be held in Ethiopia in January 2020.