Harambee Stars Okumbi names 'unfit' team for friendlies

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The coach has called 12 foreign-based players ahead of the matches.

play Kenyan striker Michael Olunga (Nation)

Harambee Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi now has a swollen squad of 48 players ahead of three international friendly matches.

12 of the players are foreign-based, who are expected to link up with the rest of the team in readiness for matches against Mozambique, Mauritania and Togo as from Thursday August 31.

A cross-section of the team reveals a number of issues one of which being the ‘unfitness’ factor.

Let’s start with Michael Olunga. He was relegated to reserve team more than a month ago and he has never featured for competitive match since then. His fitness levels cannot be overlooked ahead of the games.

Sweden-based Eric Johanna only played last Saturday after a one-month league break. The period he took while not playing for Vasalund IF shows how he is not at his best now.

South Africa-based defender Brian Mandela was recently in Kenya and stayed out when his side featured for the MTN Top 8 tournament. That period of silence has definitely affected his form.

Locally, a player like Joseph Okumu, who is currently unattached after ending his stay in South Africa has not competitively played for about one month.

However, the coach has included Norway-based keeper Arnold Origi in the lineup after missing out for more than one year but a conspicuously missing name is former Gor Mahia defender Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma.

Kariobangi Sharks defender Pascal Ogweno, who is serving his six-match ban from Kenyan Premier League is also in the squad where Ulinzi Stars’ quartet of Stephen Waruru, Samuel Onyango, Mohammed Hassan and Omar Mbongi have exempted themselves to feature for this year’s East Africa Military games.

Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers), Peter Odhiambo (Gor Mahia), Gabriel Andika (AFC Leopards), Farouk Shikalo (Posta Rangers).

Defenders: Benard Ochieng (Vihiga United), Harun Shakava (Gor Mahia), Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Simon Mbugua (Posta Rangers), Collins Shivachi (Tusker), Joseph Okumu (Unattached), Jockins Atudo (Posta Rangers), Robinson Kamura (AFC Leopards), Wesley Onguso (Sofapaka), Dennis Shikhayi (AFC Leopards) Pascal Ogweno (Kariobangi Sharks).

Midfielders: Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia), Victor Majid (AFC Leopards), George Odhiambo (Gor Mahia), Jackson Macharia (Tusker), Alpha Onyango (Kakamega High School), Duncan Otieno (AFC Leopards), Peter Nganga (Nakuru All Stars), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia), Patillah Omotto (Kariobangi Sharks).

Strikers: Boniface Muchiri (Tusker), Kepha Aswani (Nakumatt), Masoud Juma (Kariobangi Sharks), Boniface Omondi (Gor Mahia), Moses Mudavadi (Kakamega Homeboyz), James Mazembe (Kakamega High School), Ezekiel Otuoma (Western Stima), Joe Waithera (Wazito), Chris Ochieng (Mathare United), Nicholas Kipkirui (Zoo Kericho), Marcellus Ingotsi (AFC Leopards).

Foreign Based Players: Abud Omar (Slava Sofia, Bulgaria), Anthony Akumu (Zesco, Zambia), David Ochieng (New York Cosmos, USA), Jesse Were (Zesco, Zambia), Johanna Omollo (Cercle Brugge, Belgium), David Owino (Zesco, Zambia), Michael Olunga (Guizhou Zhicheng, China), Clifton Miheso (Buildcon FC, Zambia), Erick Johanna (Vasalund’s FC, Sweden), Mark Makwatta (Buildcon FC, Zambia), Jonah Ayunga (Galway United, Ireland), Brian Mandela (Maritzburg United, South Africa), Ayub Timbe (Beijing Renhe, China), Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspurs, England), Arnold Origi (Lillestrom, Norway).

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