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Africa Cup of Nations: Can Kenya conquer?

UNDER PRESSURE: Victor Wanyama

KENYA FACE a t ough challenge at the upcoming African Cup of Nations (AFCON), according to their captain Victor Wanyama.

The tournament will take place from June 21 - to July 19 in Egypt, meaning Europe-based players will not miss club games.

It is the biggest AFCON yet, with 24 teams, and the first to be held in Europe’s summer rather than January or February.

Kenya will face Senegal, Algeria and Tanzania and Wanyama, who has 52 caps for his country, is well aware of the task ahead.

The Tottenham mid elder told The Voice: “I think it is a very tough group. There is no one to underestimate because you know to make it through to the African Cup of Nations you have to be a good team. We are in a tough group and hopefully we can work hard and go through.”

Wanyama, 27, was asked what it would mean for him to captain Kenya in Egypt: “I think it is good. It is a great achievement. We just want to go and there and enjoy ourselves. Honestly, we do not have targets. We just have to work hard game by game and make sure that we can collect points.”

One of the standout games of the draw will be the game between East African neighbours Kenya and Tanzania, and Wanyama is excited: “It will be tough. I thought, ‘These people want two East African countries to fight each other!’

“It is a big derby. We are brothers, but we are looking forward to the challenge.” Nairobi-born Wanyama, who has been dogged by injuries this season, said: “It has been a difficult season for me because I have been out for long with injury, trying to come back, working hard on the training ground and in the gym. I am glad that I am feeling better and strong. I am glad I am getting back to fitness again.”

Wanyama’s comeback has been timely for his club as they chased a Champions League final berth. He became the first African to score at Tottenham’s impressive new stadium when he notched a goal in the 4-0 rout of relegated Huddersfield.

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Wanyama, who joined Spurs from Southampton in a £11 million pound deal three years ago, was keen to pay tribute to his club teammate Moussa Sissoko who has been in scintillating form this season.

“He is enjoying himself now. He has worked hard as well and he did not give up. He is a good example,” said Wanyama.

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