With just twelve days left to Kenya’s African Cup of Nations (AFCON) opener against Algeria, coach Sebastien Migne has been handed a major blow after dependable defender Brian Mandela got injured in training on Monday.
Mandela, who plays for South Africa based Maritzburg United, is reported to have fell awkwardly on his knee during training in France and has since been ruled out of the competition. He has also been nursing an injury since surgery.
The defender, who played a pivotal role in Friday’s friendly against Madagascar, was carried off the training ground and walked with crutches as he went out to hospital in Paris where further scans were carried out to ascertain the seriousness of the injury.
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Mandela’s injury adds to woes in the defence as other two defenders are facing injury risks as they prepare for the tourney.
Stars’ vice-captain Musa Mohamed has been out for the last two days of training after picking up a muscular injury in the Madagascar friendly but is expected to be back on Tuesday (today). Full back Aboud Omar had also missed Sunday’s training just as a precaution but was back in full swing on Monday.
Migne admitted that Mandela’s absence is a blow to the team but also said there is enough squad depth to replace the Maritzburg United defender.
“Brian (Mandela) got injured in training. He is one of our key players and will not be available for Afcon. We will need to find a solution,” coach Sebastien Migne told reporters from Stars’ training camp in France.
“It is not good for us and for him as well. Musa Mohamed also picked up a knock (in Harambee Stars’ friendly match against Madagascar). We cannot take a risk with him against DR Congo but he could be available for Afcon,” he added
In Mandela’s absence, the French tactician will have to look for other options in the defence. Youngster Joseph Okumu, David ‘Calabar’ Owino, Joash Onyango and Vihiga United skipper Bernard Ochieng are all options Migne can use at Central defence.
The French tactician is expected to announce his final squad with Mandela expected to be one of the three who will be dropped from the 27-man squad that is attending the training camp in France.
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