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Afcon-bound Harambee Stars to play French national team in Paris

Kenya will face France in a historic international friendly in Paris on June 6. Harambee Stars will use the encounter as one of their build-up matches for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

The high-profile friendly match will be the highlight of Harambee Stars’ three-week training camp in France ahead of the biennial continental football showpiece to be held from 21 June to 19 July 2019 in Egypt.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) confirmed this development late on Sunday evening in an exclusive interview with Nairobi News.

“This is a historic match will highlight the huge strides we have made since we took over,” FKF President Nick Mwendwa said.

BIG-NAME FRENCH PLAYERS

“We signed a contract with our colleagues from the French Football Federation on Saturday. We will pay them 1 million Euros (Sh113 million) appearance fee and the terms dictate they have to field their first team especially (Paul) Pogba, (Kylian) Mbappé and (Antoine) Griezmann for 90 minutes. The match will be at the Parc de Princess,” Mwendwa further disclosed.

Nicknamed Les Bleus (The Blues), the French national football team are the reigning world champions having easily beaten Croatia 4-2 during last year’s World Cup final in Russia.

The side is currently captained by Tottenham Hotspur’s first choice goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris, who is Harambee Stars’ skipper Victor Wanyama’s team mate at the London club.

The French are ranked second in the current Fifa rankings, while Harambee Stars are placed 105 positions below them.

KENYAN SQUAD

Other big-name players expected to line up for France include Barcelona centre back Samuel Umtiti, his team mate and dazzling winger Ousmane Dembele, Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud and Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette.

Kenya will meanwhile have Michael Olunga alongside Jesse Were or Masoud Juma in attack, Wanyama, Chris Mbamba and a fit-again Ayub Timbe in midfield, Musa Mohammed partnering Gor Mahia’s Joash Onyango in central defence and Patrick Matasi between the sticks.

“We don’t fear them and will not be treating this game as a friendly,” explained Olunga, who has recently been linked with a move to Monaco.

“It is the match of our lives and I know the Parc de Princess is will be filled up. We will not let Kenyans down,” Harambee Stars French coach Sébastien Migné said.

Stars recently qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after finishing second in Group ‘F’ behind Ghana and ahead of Ethiopia and Sierra Leone who were disqualified from the qualification campaign.