At 10pm on Wednesday evening, a select SportPesa Premier League side will take on Spanish lower-tier league side Cordoba Club de Fútbol in their first friendly match of their week-long tour of Spain.
The players will remain in the Andalusia Region of Spain to wait for their second match against Sevilla Atlético on Friday before they return home next Tuesday.
The tour is part of a programme of events lined up for local-based players and football officials under a recently signed partnership signed between Spanish La Liga and Kenyan Premier League.
The 18 players who travelled to Spain early Sunday morning is expected to form the backbone of Harambee Stars squad that will represent Kenya in the African Nations Championship next year, and the friendly games are meant to help them acquire the much-needed experience and exposure.
Coach Stanley Okumbi who picked the best players on the local scene, has faith in the travelling party, although he regretted having to leave out some young players, among them Eston Esiye of Kakamega Homeboyz and Said Tsuma of Thika United due to lack of proper travel documents.
“It was tough making a selection out of the 400 players in the premier league right now. I wanted to have more players below age 23, because they are the future of the national team, but I had to leave many of them because they did not have the necessary travel documents,” Okumbi said.
“The goal is to bring these players together and equip them with the necessary experience that will help them in future engagements such as CHAN,” the national team coach added.
The partnership between KPL limited and Spanish top flight organisers La Liga was formalised on May 11, and the agreement is meant to last three years.
There was no money involved in the deal, but La Liga officials explained that their vision is to improve the general management of the Kenyan top flight as well as its clubs so that they can be able to grow in revenue.
Matthias Kigonya (Sofapaka), Bonface Oluoch (Gor Mahia)
Defenders: Robinson Kamura (AFC Leopards), Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Simon Mbugua (Posta Rangers), Maurice Ojwang’ (Western Stima), Wesley Onguso (Sofapaka)
Midfielders: Benson Iregi (Thika United), Clinton Kisiavuki (Nakumatt), Jackson Macharia (Tusker), Victor Majid (AFC Leopards), Boniface Muchiri (Tusker), Ovella Ochieng’ (Kariobangi Sharks), Patillah Omoto (Kariobangi Sharks), Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia),
Forwards: Vincent Oburu (AFC Leopards), Victor Omondi (Nzoia Sugar), Samuel Onyango (Ulinzi Stars)