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The third-best rule that Harambee Stars is hanging on

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Despite losing two matches in their group stage campaign at the Total African Cup of Nations, Harambee Stars still have a chance of making it to the round of 16.

Kenya’s chance of proceeding in the competition is dependent on the outcome of other AFCON matches to be played today, Tuesday 2nd July 2019. For the first time in the tournament’s history, third placed teams have a chance of making it to the round of 16.

Twelve teams automatically qualify for the round of 16 after finishing first or second in their respective groups. The remaining four places in the first knockout round are to be battled for by the third placed finishers in all the groups.

Kenya is currently third among the third placed finishers and has a chance of maintaining its position depending on the outcome of other matches. Harambee Stars is behind DRC Congo and Guinea on the third placed finishers’ table while South Africa’s Bafana Bafana is fourth.

The third placed table is tied to goal difference like the normal group standings are. If teams draw on points and goal difference, they will be distinguished by the number of goals they have scored in the competition without looking at goals they have conceded.

[Read: AFCON 2019 supremacy rankings: Senegal leads as Kenya plummets]

Harambee Stars’ qualification is dependent on how Benin and Angola will perform in their last group fixtures. Kenyans will be hoping that both teams lose  their matches to be assured of a spot in the last 16.

If both Angola and Benin draw in their respective matches then Kenya will not proceed in the best losers’ table. Angola is playing Mali while Benin is playing Cameroon. If both Angola and Benin win their respective fixtures, then Kenya will be eliminated from the competition and so will be South Africa.

Finishing third in the best losers’ table will see Harambee Stars lock horns with the hosts Egypt. Playing on home soil, The Pharaohs are determined to win the trophy which will be their first in over 9 years. Egyptian main man Mohamed Salah is also aiming to bag the AFCON title and increase his chances of winning the Ballon D’or after winning the UEFA champions League trophy with Liverpool.

If Kenya drops a position at the best losers’ table and proceed as fourth, they are likely to clash with Madagascar. Madagascar is the team that has produced a shock in the competition finishing first in their group ahead of Nigeria, Guinea and Burundi. It is the first time in history that Madagascar is playing in the competition. Kenya played them in their pre-tournament friendly and won 1-0 courtesy of a Victor Wanyama penalty.

Harambee Stars still have a chance of making it to the last 16 as Angola’s and Benin’s opponents need to win to be assured of a place in the last 16. Chances are dimmer but Harambee Stars sure have a chance of proceeding in the competition.

[See also: Harambee Stars AFCON preparations in a nutshell; no excuses for Kenya]

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Kevin Namunwa
Kevin Namunwahttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Kevin Namunwa is a senior reporter for Business Today. Email at [email protected].
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