Why Harambee Stars striker John Avire is not afraid of monumental Ivory Coast challenge

Why Harambee Stars striker John Avire is not afraid of monumental Ivory Coast challenge

Mark Kinyanjui 05:32 - 24.05.2024

John Avire has revealed why Harambee Stars are not scared of tough test against 2023 AFCON winners Ivory Coast.

As the Harambee Stars prepare for the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, striker John Avire remains confident and composed despite the formidable challenge posed by Ivory Coast. 

The Kenyan national team will face the West African giants in Malawi on June 11, but Avire is not letting the high stakes intimidate him or his teammates.

Returning to the international stage after a five-year hiatus, Avire made a memorable comeback by scoring his first goal for Kenya in a friendly against Malawi in March. 

His stunning strike, cutting in from the left side, showcased his talent and underscored his readiness to contribute to the national team's success.

Reflecting on his journey, Avire recalled his participation in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), where he made a significant impact in his two appearances.

His performance against Tanzania, where Kenya came from behind twice to secure a 3-2 victory, highlighted his potential. Despite a tough match against Senegal, led by the formidable Sadio Mane, the experience was invaluable for Avire’s development as a player.

In a recent media interaction, Avire acknowledged Ivory Coast's prowess but emphasised his belief in Kenya's abilities. 

"Ivory Coast is a good team, but we also have quality and good players. When we are on the pitch, the concentration has to be high. We have to follow the plan. We can have victory, and I really believe in our team," he stated with conviction.

Avire is one of seven  seasoned players from Kenya's 2019 AFCON squad, alongside left-backs Abud Omar and Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma, centre-back Joseph Okumu, winger Eric Johana Omondi, goalkeeper Patrick Matasi, and striker Michael Olunga.

 With a squad averaging just 24 years, the experience of these senior players is crucial. Avire highlighted their role in mentoring the younger players, instilling a positive mindset, and ensuring everyone stays focused on their goals.

"Our experience is helping the upcoming players to have a positive mindset and focus on their goals. Everybody is focused. I believe with the quality we have and the focus we have, everything will be okay," Avire explained.

Confidence in the team's strategy and the coach's game plan is also evident in Avire's words. 

"We are looking forward to it. We are confident in the coach’s game plan. As I said, everyone is focused and concentrating in training," he added.

Avire's professional journey has taken him to Egypt, where he has played for several clubs since leaving Sofapaka for FC Tanta after the 2019 AFCON. Despite the challenges of adapting to different teams and coaches, Avire believes these experiences have enriched his game. 

"Each time you play for different clubs, you also play for different coaches, and they give you advice. The way I have been training with the teams and coaches, they have helped me develop my talent, and I can give something for the national team," he said.

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