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Wanyama picks Mali as Group favorites, tips Kenya to reach Qatar World Cup

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The 29-year-old feels the Harambee Stars have a good chance to make it to the final of the competition for the first time in history

Kenya international Victor Wanyama believes the Harambee Stars have what it takes to make it to the 2022 World Cup final.

The Harambee Stars have never reached the final of the World Cup and have been drawn to face Mali, Rwanda, and Uganda in a qualifying group for the final to be held in Qatar.

Wanyama, who currently turns out for Montreal Impact in Major League Soccer (MLS), has now acknowledged that Kenya is drawn in a tough group, and tipped Mali as favorites but remained confident they can also make it to the finals.

“It’s a difficult group and we respect all the teams,” Wanyama told FIFA.com. “As with any qualifying event, you shouldn’t complain about the quality of your opponents or the group.

“We have strong rivals, but games are decided only on match days and out on the pitch, so we have to do our best to get excellent results and qualify from that group.

“I think Mali are the favourites, but Uganda and Rwanda are very good too. Any of those three could make it.”

On whether Kenya can make it from the group despite the difficulty of the task, Wanyama said: “Every player dreams of the World Cup and we’ll do all we can to qualify. We hope things go in our favour and that we reach Qatar 2022.”

Wanyama further said he knew Kenya will make it to the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations held in Egypt in 2019 after a 15-year absence, because of the wonderful squad they had built.

“We knew that we had a group of players who were capable of achieving big things and qualifying for the continental finals after so long,” Wanyama continued.

“We also knew it was a very important tournament and that we had to be there. Having participated in the most recent edition, we look forward to making the next one too, but next time we’ll go there to compete.

On earning his first cap for the national team, Wanyama said: “I remember that match very well. Jacob Mulee, the then national-team coach, decided to give me a few minutes to start my Kenyan journey. I was very happy and felt proud to be wearing my country’s shirt.

“I tried to make something happen in that game but I didn’t have the necessary experience at the time. It wasn’t an easy task at all, but I learned a lot from that experience.”

The next assignment for Kenya will be in the Afcon qualifiers where they have a double-header coming up against the Comoros in November.

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