Defender George ‘Wise’ Owino says he is ready to do duty for the national football team Harambee Stars after a long injury lay-off as the team reported to the training camp Monday afternoon.
The 30-year-old is targeting a return to first team action when he makes it to head coach Henri Michel’s final list.
After suffering with knee problems for close to two years, the Sofapaka player will need to impress national coach Michel who welcomed a contingent of 29 players for their first training camp Monday afternoon at Kasarani.
The team is preparing for the annual Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) tournament in Kampala in November and African Nations Championships in December.
The former Tusker, Simba and Yanga defender who got a knee knock in last year’s season opener, the DSTV Super Cup clash against Ulinzi Stars feels he is getting close to full fitness.
“It has been a long journey and I thank God for this opportunity,” Owino said at the camp yesterday morning. “Hopefully with time, I’m going to be ahead of the rest in terms of fitness but I won’t push myself too hard. I will be like an excited kid because I’ve missed playing.”
Kenya last won title in 2008
Kenya will be seeking to lift the title they last won in 2008.
Kenya is also scheduled to play Burundi in the preliminaries of the African Nations Championships qualifiers in December.
After missing out on the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Michel will be out to bring success to local fans in the tournament reserved for players playing in local leagues.
But Owino will battle debutants Christopher Wekesa, Leonard Mosoti and Solomon Nasio (Gor Mahia), Wilfred Ochomo (Ulinzi), Edwin Wafula (AFC Leopards) and John Nairuka (Thika United) for a place in the first team.
Thrown in the mix of experienced Mike Baraza, Charles Okwemba (AFC), Jacktone Odhiambo (Ulinzi), Osborne Monday, James Situma and Bob Mugalia (Sofapaka), the lads have their work cut out.
The top six teams in the local premier league - Tusker, AFC, Gor, Sofapaka, Thika United and Ulinzi Stars - dominate the team, with Sony’s Enock Agwanda the only player outside the top six clubs.