Kenya vs Ivory Coast: Who will referee Harambee Stars World Cup qualifier against African champions?

Kenya vs Ivory Coast: Who will referee Harambee Stars World Cup qualifier against African champions?

Festus Chuma 07:00 - 10.06.2024

Kenya face Ivory Coast in a critical FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifier in Malawi following a recent draw against Burundi and the match officials for the key tie have been revealed.

Moroccan referee Jalal Jayed has been selected to oversee the crucial Group F encounter in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers between Kenya and Ivory Coast.

The match is scheduled for Tuesday at the Bingu National Stadium in Blantyre, Malawi.

Joining him on the field will be a team of experienced officials including first assistant Azgaou Lahsen, second assistant Jermoumi Fatiha, and Fourth Official Kech Chaf Mustapha—all hailing from Morocco.

The team will be completed by referee assessor Gaye Fatou from Egypt and match commissioner Hassan Amir Abdi from Somalia.

This high-stakes match comes just three days after Kenya's disappointing draw with Burundi, where they conceded a late goal to end the game 1-1.

Duke Abuya initially put the Harambee Stars ahead, but a lapse in defense allowed Burundi's Abdallah Sudi to level the scores late in the game.

This draw was a missed opportunity for Kenya to equal Gabon in the standings, following Gabon's recent 1-0 defeat to Ivory Coast.

Kenya is in pursuit of its first-ever World Cup appearance under the guidance of coach Engin Firat.

However, the team's defensive vulnerabilities were exposed against Burundi, particularly through a mix-up involving Danish Superliga club Viborg FF's defender, Daniel Anyembe.

Due to the lack of a CAF/FIFA-approved stadium in Kenya, the pivotal home match against Ivory Coast will take place at the Bingu National Stadium.

Named after former Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika, this stadium boasts a seating capacity of 41,000 and is no stranger to hosting significant events.

It was the venue for all four matches of the Four Nations tournament in March 2024, which saw Harambee Stars emerge victorious.

Kenya’s recent form shows a mix of outcomes with three wins, one draw, and one loss from their last five outings.

Their performances include a 2-1 defeat to Gabon, a resounding 5-0 victory over Seychelles, and wins against Malawi and Zimbabwe before the draw with Burundi.

In contrast, Ivory Coast has displayed strong form, securing four wins and a draw in their recent matches, including victories over DR Congo, Nigeria, Uruguay, and Gabon, alongside a draw with Benin.

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