Harambee Stars to Play Russia in International Friendly As AFCON 2027 Celebrations Continue

Harambee Stars to Play Russia in International Friendly As AFCON 2027 Celebrations Continue

Martin Moses
September 30, 2023 at 7:08 AM
  • Harambee Stars will play Russia in an international friendly on October 16
  • Ranked number 37 by FIFA, Russia will be another good test for the home boys
  • This week, Kenya, alongside her East Africa neighbours, won the rights to host AFCON 2027

Kenya's football national team, Harambee Stars, has landed yet another high-profile friendly match, with the team now set to face Russia on October 16.

Harambee Stars will play the 2018 World Cup hosts in Turkey as they seek to step up their preparations for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers that begin in November.

Kenya, Harambee Stars, Russia South Sudan, Engin Firat, Qatar, Michael Olunga, Joseph Okumu
Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga applauds fans at the end of their game against Qatar on September 7. Photo by Simon Holmes.
Source: Getty Images

They will face the Ivory Coast, Gabon, Gambia, Seychelles and Burundi, with only one team gaining automatic qualification to the 2026 World Cup.

It will be the third time in a year that Kenya is facing a nation ranked way above her following friendly games against Iran and Qatar. They fell to the former 2-1 in March before beating the 2022 World Cup hosts this month by a similar scoreline in Al Wakrah.

The win in Al Wakrah was, however, watered down after they lost to minnows South Sudan days later on home soil. The news of the friendly was confirmed by the social media handles of the national team after days of speculation.

AFCON 2027

It comes at a time when Kenya was confirmed as the host of the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations. Kenya's joint bid with Uganda and Tanzania emerged successful, beating the likes of Senegal and Egypt to the hosting rights.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba has promised to deliver a wonderful tournament for the continent.

"We can host an incredible tournament of this magnitude together and it will be a great opportunity to grow the game in East Africa and the game will surely grow," as quoted by the Star.

How Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania won

In documents seen by Sports Brief, the Pamoja bid managed to convince CAF's Exco committee on the basis that no East African nation had ever hosted the AFCON before. The last time it was held in the greater Eastern Africa region was when Ethiopia hosted the 1976 edition.

The bid also stressed the importance of how other nations in the continent had benefited from hosting a tournament of such magnitude and thus, it was the turn of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to reap such benefits.

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Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)