DRC's experience v Kenya's lack of it
DR Congo and Kenya have met on four previous occasions where both won two of those fixtures. That said, this might look like a contest between peers though it is the Congolese who have a better hand. They have qualified for the second consecutive continental showcase and they have a squad capable of finishing in the later stages of the tournament. They have been together for quite some time now under the leadership of Florent Ibenge since 2014 and that should count for something here.
Kenya for their part have done well to reach the AFCON as they have been out of the continental tournament since 2104. The side is dominated by young players who have impressed under the tutelage of Sebastian Migne. A number of veterans were left out of the squad in favour of fresh talent and they will want to repay the faith of the manager with a strong showing.
Michael Olunga v Cedric Bakambu
Michael Olunga burst into the national limelight in 2015 with Gor Mahia and he has never looked back since then. Kenya have not been known for the production of prolific strikers with Denis Oliech being the last striker who inspired them to the AFCON in 2004. Olunga has come close to what Oliech did and his two goals during qualification went a long way in ensuring that Harambee Star qualified.
DR Congo will be looking up to Cedric Bakambu for inspiration up front. The Beijing Guoan striker has been a mainstay in the side and he is prolific in front of goal. He managed three goals during the qualifying campaign and he already has four goals for his club so far this season. It will be interesting to see how he fares against a very organized Kenyan defence.
Kenya's impressive form v DRC's lackluster form
Harambee Stars have been impressive lately and they will be hoping to extend their brilliant form here ahead of the AFCON. They have won two of their last four fixtures whilst drawing one and losing one in the process. They have shown that they can slay giants as was the case when they won against Ghana in the qualifiers and they will be thinking of doing just that to the Congolese here.
DR Congo for their part have not looked very convincing after drawing three of their last five outings whilst losing one and winning one. They will be facing an in-form Kenyan side whose record against has not been very convincing. Whether they can rally here to get a result will remain to be seen but we should be in for another entertaining affair.