Deputy President William Ruto has undertaken to support the national football team’s quest to qualify for the forthcoming Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in more than a decade.
The DP made this assurance while hosting the Harambee Stars players and technical bench for breakfast at his Karen residence on Tuesday.
Stars are still in celebratory mode, in the wake of that thrilling victory at the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup over the weekend.
The team’s seventh title in the competition was attained via that dramatic 3-2 post-match penalties win over Zanzibar at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Sunday, after the two teams had drawn 1-1 after 90 minutes and two-all after extra time.
At the same time, the DP also awarded the team Sh5 million in cash, an amount handed over to by captain Musa Mohammed on behalf of the players.
He also promised a further Sh10 million from President Uhuru Kenyatta which Sports PS Kirimi Kaberia confirmed will be delivered by Friday this week.
“You guys made us so proud across the country on Sunday. All communities across the political divide were celebrating. I am so proud of you,” said Ruto.
“You can help us build more bond us the people of Kenya.”
Kenya last qualified for the Africa Nations Cup in 2004, when the tournament was hosted by Tunisia. Since then, Stars have competed in seven editions of the qualifying matches but the team has either fallen short or dramatically failed to make the cut.
“We are determined to make the Nations Cup, the government is committed to supporting us and I am sure the excitement will trickle into our performances,” Said Stars goalkeeper Patrick Matasi.
Kenya are fighting alongside Ghana, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone for two slots available to compete at the 2019 Africa Nations Cup in Cameroon.