East Africa teams looking to punch above their weight at 2019 AFCON

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NAIROBI, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) chief Nicholas Musonye has challenged the region's four teams at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to uphold East African pride at the tournament.

With Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi all having qualified for Africa's showpiece continental tournament, this represents the first time in AFCON history that four East African sides will feature at the event, which this year runs from June 21 to July 19 in Egypt.

"I am proud of the success of the four teams. For the first time, we shall have enough representation from the region. But qualifying is not enough. I challenge them to go out there and make a statement. East Africa has enough talent to compete with the other regions in Africa," Musonye said on Wednesday in Nairobi.

Kenya's head coach Sebastian Migne has promised to guide the Harambee Stars past the preliminary round, and has warned his opponents to expect a bumpy ride in Egypt.

Kenya is pooled alongside Senegal, Tanzania and Algeria in Group C.

"We are not going to Egypt as tourists. When you are playing in a competition, the aim is to try and achieve your best. Our first target is to qualify for the knockout stages," Migne said.

Uganda will be making their seventh AFCON appearance, one more than Kenya, while Tanzania return to the continental contest for a second time, and Burundi are making their tournament bow.

Only the top two teams from each of the six groups and four best third-place finishers will qualify for the competition's knockout stage.

"We will approach each match differently and we will try to write a good story for Kenyan football. First we need to avoid conceding. When you have a clean sheet, this is the beginning of a good result," Migne said. Enditem

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