Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi names squad for Afcon qualifier

Harambee Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi has named a 36-man squad that will do duty against Guinea Bissau in their upcoming 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Friday March 4 2016

Harambee Stars skipper Francis Kahata (left) rounds off Ethiopia's Mulualem Mesfin during their GOtv Senior Challenge Cup match on November 27, 2013 at the Nyayo National Stadium. Kahata has been recalled to the national team for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

Harambee Stars skipper Francis Kahata (left) rounds off Ethiopia's Mulualem Mesfin during their GOtv Senior Challenge Cup match on November 27, 2013 at the Nyayo National Stadium. Kahata has been recalled to the national team for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By CELLESTINE OLILO
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Harambee Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi has named a 36-man squad that will do duty against Guinea Bissau in their upcoming 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Okumbi has called up several new faces including Sony Sugar defender Eugene Ochieng, Chemelil’s Joseph Okumu, Mathare United midfielder Roy Syamba, Aziz Okaka (Ushuru), Simon Abuko (AFC Leopards), Ovella Ochieng from Kariobangi Sharks and Ingwe goalkeeper Lucas Indeche.

Shaban Kenga, Shariff Mohammed, Anthony Kimani (all Bandari), Francis Kahata (Gor Mahia), Timothy Otieno (Posta Rangers), Pattilah Omotto (Kariobangi Sharks) and James Situma (Tusker) have all been recalled.

Zoo Kericho striker Nicholas Kipkurui has also earned another call up though he is yet to earn his maiden cap.

Okumbi told Saturday Nation Sport that he included the youngsters in the team as he hopes to create a more dynamic team for the future.

“We are working on mid and long term goals. These players may be young, but they have shown potential and the idea is to develop them into a formidable squad for the future,” the former Mathare United coach said.

“We are serious about youth development.”

Okumbi, whose appointment was met with mixed reactions from the local football fans and stakeholders, will face his first test on March 23 when Kenya will face Guinea Bissau away in Bissau.

Newly appointed Football Kenya Federation Chief Executive Officer Robert Muthomi also confirmed that some foreign-based players who have been invited will link up with the team directly in Bissau.

“We have made arrangements for the players who play outside Kenya to travel directly to the match venue to avoid confrontations with their respective clubs,” he said.

Harambee Stars, who are currently third in Group ‘E’ behind Zambia and Congo who have four points each, have a mountain to climb if they are to make it to the finals to be held in Gabon in 2017.

Stars held Congo 1-1 in June and lost 2-1 to Chipolopolo of Zambia in September last year in their opening qualifiers.

The squad will report for residential training on Monday at the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium.

SQUAD

Goalkeepers - Arnold Origi (Lillestrom, Norway), Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Lucas Indeche (AFC Leopards), Ian Otieno (Posta Rangers);

Defenders - Harun Shakava, Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Brian Birgen, Omar Mbongi (Ulinzi Stars), Shariff Mohammed (Bandari), David Owino (Zesco United, Zambia), James Situma (Tusker), Eugene Ochieng (Sony Sugar), Joseph Okumu (Chemelil Sugar), Brian Mandela (Maritzburg United, South Africa);

Midfielders - Victor Wanyama (Southampton, England), Johannah Omollo (Antwerp, Belgium), Collins Okoth, Francis Kahata (Gor Mahia), Patillah Omotto (Kariobangi Sharks), Eric Johanna, Roy Syamba (Mathare United), Clifton Miheso, Simon Abuko (AFC Leopards), Anthony Kimani, Shaban Kenga, David Kingatua (Bandari), Ayub Timbe (Lierse, Belgium), Anthony Akumu (Zesco United, Zambia), Paul Were (FC Kalloni, Greece);

Strikers - Michael Olunga (IF Djugardens, Sweden), Aziz Okaka (Ushuru), Timothy Otieno (Posta Rangers), Jesse Were (Zesco United, Zambia), Ovella Ochieng (Kariobangi Sharks) and Nicholas Kipkurui (Zoo Kericho).

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