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Leopards players deserve slots in Harambee Stars

Monday April 22 2019

AFC Leopards players celebrate their goal against Chemilil Sugar during their SportPesa Premier League match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on April 4, 2019.PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

AFC Leopards players celebrate their goal against Chemelil Sugar during their SportPesa Premier League match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on April 4, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

JOHN ASHIHUNDU
By JOHN ASHIHUNDU
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The conversation would have been unthinkable when our great club was flirting with relegation. But now that we are back on form, a point must be made that our players also deserve slots in the national team — Harambee Stars.

Ingwe are currently in the 10th position on the SportPesa Premier League table, and with the current form, it will not be long before they force their way in the top five.

One feels that time is ripe for Kenya coach Sebastien Migne to take a second look at AFC Leopards because we indeed have players who can help the country in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Our attacking midfielder, Whyvonne Isuza, has been scoring for the club week in, week out, and he is chasing our former captain Allan Wanga of Kakamega Homeboys for the top scorers’’ gong. Isuza should be an automatic pick for the national team.

Other players I feel should also be considered by Migne includes Paul Were, Brian Marita, Robinson Kamura, Vincent Oburu and Eugene Mukangula.

There is no argument here. Harambee Stars has always performed well when it has majority of players from AFC Leopards.

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I know there are processes in place for selection to the national team, but I feel that Ingwe will be fairly represented with a total of three players in Egypt.

There is nothing wrong with Ingwe having three players in the squad for Cairo because history has proved that our national team will always ride high with some influence from Ingwe players.

John Nyawanga was the first Kenyan to captain the national team at the African Nations Cup finals in 1972.

Apart from Nyawanga, other great players donated to the national team by Ingwe were Charles Makunda, Francis Khiranga, Daniel Anyanzwa, Jonathan Niva, Livingston Madegwa, David Asibwa, Arthur Okwemba, Senior Wamalwa and Ezekiel Ang’ana. The list could feel this page.

Kenya first attempt at qualification was for the 1968 finals in Ethiopia followed by another failed effort to make the 1970 finals in Sudan.

When Harambee Stars dominated in East and Central Africa in the 1980s under Marshall Mulwa, the team captain was Mahmoud Abbas.

Other prominent Stars players were Josephat Murila, Haggai Mirikau, Wilberorfoce Mulamba, Tony Lidonde, Joe Masiga, Aggrey Lukoye, Noah Wanyama, Mike Amwayi and Shaban Omar. They were all Leopards players.

History has also proven that Harambee Stars is always unlucky when the squad is heavily populated with players not from AFC Leopards.

Given this scenario, Migne should not expect much if he goes to Cairo with the squad he had in Ghana last month for the return match which we lost 1-0.

The squad does not look at the big picture, but the small and narrow one, that is why indiscipline is given priority and tolerated instead of shopping for a chance to play at a higher level.

Jonathan Niva, Musa Otieno, Victor Wanyama, Allan Wanga, John Busolo and many others succeeded at professional level because they came from AFC Leopards.

Migne, please get the process started and ensure Stars’ Egypt squad contains at least three Leopards players.

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