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Exclusive: Kenya opponents Comoros still confident despite Afcon rescheduling

The minnows’ head coach Amir Abdou is optimistic that the Africa Cup of Nations outsiders can reach Cameroon 2022

Kenya’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifying opponents Comoros are confident that they won’t be affected by the tournament rescheduling announced by the Confederation of African Football on Tuesday.

President Ahmad Ahmad announced that the 33rd edition of the biennial competition had been postponed by a year to January 2022 following a Caf Executive Committee meeting, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, with the confederation unable to schedule all outstanding qualifiers before the end of the year.

The news comes as a blow for the Harambee Stars’ Group G opponents Comoros, who are unlikely group leaders after taking four points from their opening two matches, but head coach Amir Abdou is optimistic that their qualification ambitions won’t be affected.

“This period of confinement has slowed us down in terms of our progression, but we will still continue with the staff and the players,” Abdou told Goal. “We’ve done a lot of interaction, a lot of video work with the players, and it’s allowed us to work on some aspects we had in terms of the team.

“We remain optimistic for what’s coming and we respect the decision,” he added. “We wait, wisely, the upcoming decisions to be ready to attack and pick up our qualification matches.”

Currently ranked 133rd in the world, the Comoros have never qualified for the Afcon finals, having first attempted to qualify for the 2010 edition.

However, under the stewardship of Abdou, they have made significant strides in recent years, taking five points during the 2019 Afcon qualifying campaign and holding both Morocco and Cameroon at home.

Previously, during the 2018 World Cup qualifying, they reached the second round of qualification for the first time, and defeated Togo in their first 2021 qualifier to register their first away victory in either major qualifying campaign.

“We’re in a good dynamic,” Abdou continued, “but the standings are anecdotal, we’ve only just started the competition, it’s a mini-championship.

“It’s true that right now we’re the leaders, but things can change quickly—either upwards or downwards.

“In terms of motivation, we’re here, we’re very motivated to reach our objectives, we want to do beautiful things for our people and for all of my players involved, so for us, the objective is to prepare well to reach qualification.”

Comoros followed up their 1-0 victory over Togo in Lome in November with a 0-0 draw against Egypt in Moroni, further demonstrating their ability to stifle and stymie the continent’s biggest footballing nations.

They were due to face the Harambee Stars in a double-header in March, but the fixtures were postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While Kenya began qualification strongly—with a 1-1 draw against Egypt in Alexandria—they failed to break down Togo in their next fixture, after being held 1-1 in Kasarani.

Source: Goal

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