Twelve players have been axed from the SportPesa AllStars training camp that after visiting Hull City coaches trimmed the team after six days of rigorous training and assessments.
The AllStars squad which initially comprised of 47 players drawn from the SportPesa Premier League teams will be trimmed further, leaving a final team of 18 players who will travel to the UK for a historic friendly match with English premier League team Hull City scheduled for February 27.
The final team is set to be announced next Saturday in Nairobi.Terry Boyle, a professional development phase coach at Hull City and Dean Windass, a Hull City legend who scored 77 goals for the club, were in charge of the first week of training and the selection.
Joining the remaining players in the second week of training will be their colleagues Daniel O'Keefe and Richard O'Donnell."I have enjoyed what we have been doing together and I believe from here it will not be the last time for players who have been dropped," said team manager Neville Pudo.
Stanley Okumbi, national team coach who joined the camp on Friday will reinforce coaching of the Kenyan side.Those dropped from the AllStars team include Kakamega Homeboyz players Ali Bai (midfielder) and defender Charles Momanyi; Posta players Calvin Odongo (midfielder) and Georson Likono (striker); Chemelil's Edwin Omondi, AFC Leopard's Gabriel Andika, Paul Odhiambo from Sofapaka, Ulinzi players Rodgers Omondi and Michael Otieno; Dennis Monda (Muhoroni), Western Stima players Brian Marita and Estone Esiye.
Windass said he was pleasantly surprised by the level of talent and skill exhibited by local players during the training sessions.His colleague Boyle said: "The selection process was based on what we have seen over the week and in November when I was here before," adding that the culling process was difficult due to the friendships and bonds created during the week between the players and the coaches.SportPesa's CEO Ronald Karauri has thanked the players for taking part in the AllStars project assuring them that they will get more chances to exhibit and polish their skills through the company's various football development initiatives with its EPL partners.
"The training was good both for those who made it to the list and those who didn't. Even as they leave the camp, as a player I can tell you they have left with a lot of knowledge," said Muhoroni player Sammy Ndung'u."I'm feeling very happy because it was not easy the week was tough" said Robinson Kamura from Muhoroni. He added that the coaches really pushed them, as they saw something in the players."They were not expecting us to be that good " said RobinsonIn November 2016, Hull City coaches Richard Naylor and Kris Blakeston traversed the country to attend SPL matches, Harambee Stars friendly matches and training sessions with the aim to select 50 players from the 16 SportPesa Premier League teams. At the end of their trip, the coaches put together a short-list of 47 players who started their training on January 16th.The project comes in the wake of a three-year sponsorship deal between SportPesa and UK's Hull City FC, in which SportPesa became the EPL team's shirt sponsor. As part of the sponsorship, the Hull City side agreed to play friendly matches with a Kenyan team to enhance the country's football development.
The friendly is part of SportPesa's goal to improve football standards in the country to help Kenya qualify for the 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar