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Kenya draw Mauritius in 2018 Fifa World Cup qualifier

Kenya will begin their campaign for the 2018 Fifa World Cup with a match against Mauritius away in October.

The fixture was confirmed following a draw of the competition supervised by the sport’s world governing body Fifa in St Petersburg, Russia on Saturday evening.

The ceremony was attended by a host of present and former football stars including Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o, Italian Fabio Cannavarro and Brazilian Ronaldo Luis Nazario da Lima.

Aggregate victory for Harambee Stars over the Islanders, who are ranked 64 places below on the current monthly Fifa rankings, will hand Kenya a potentially tricky date against Cape Verde Islands.

The aggregate winner of the Kenya/Mauritius vs Cape Verde tie will proceed to the final stage of the qualifiers consisting of 18 other teams, from where the five nations to represent Africa at the Fifa World Cup in Russia in 2018 will be selected.

Reacting to the draw, Harambee Stars vice captain Allan Wanga said the team has a tough challenge ahead the campaign.

DISAPPOINTING RESULTS

“My dream and that of my colleagues has always been to qualify for an international tournament, be it the World Cup or even Africa Nations Cup although I don’t know much about our first opponents (Mauritius) as a footballing nation,” Wanga told Daily Nation Sport.

“But I am confident our technical bench will research on them before we meet in October. The other challenge we now face is to juggle between the Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifiers,” he added.

Kenya’s participation in Fifa World Cup qualifiers have been a series of disappointing results against highly ranked teams on the continent such as Nigeria, Cameroon and Morocco.

Stars, who are currently under the tutelage of Scot Bobby Williamson, will however have to vastly improve on the recent performances, to stand a chance of defeating the two opponents.

Barring last changes, Williamson looks set to rely on the likes of Victor Wanyama, Wanga, Micheal Olunga, Jesse Were and Arnold Origi, who have been recently been in impressive form.

Selected first round draw:

Somali v Niger, Gambia v Namibia, Chad v Sierra Leone, Djibouti v Swaziland, Seychelles v Burundi, Central Africa Republic v Madagascar, Tanzania v Malawi, South Sudan v Mauritania, Sao Tome Principe v Ethiopia, Comoros v Lesotho, Eritrea v Botswana, Liberia v Guinea Bissau, Mauritius v Kenya