National football team Harambee Stars on Tuesday stepped up training at Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Nairobi ahead of an international friendly match against Mozambique.
The team will play Mozambique on Saturday in Maputo.
At the same time, Stars reserve team left Tuesday morning for Morocco where it is scheduled to play Togo and Mauritania Thursday and on September 4 respectively in preparation for the 2018 Africa Nations Championship.
Speaking on Tuesday at Kenya School of Monetary Studies where his main team is preparing for the friendly against Mozambique, Stars coach Stanley Okumbi urged his players and fans to embrace healthy competition to take Kenyan football to the next level.
Okumbi, who has been on the spot over his decision to exclude Georgia-based midfielder Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma from the current Harambee Stars squad, said standards of the Georgian league have currently fallen, and insisted there was no ill motive behind the exclusion of the former Gor Mahia left back.
“We need to be fair and help these players. Not everybody can play in the team at all times. There are always alternatives. I analysed Ouma’s performance during our last assignment in Sierra Leone (in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier), and he was completely out of the game. I left him out this time round so that when he gets another call-up, he will be eager to give his best.
America-based central defender David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng was the only foreign-based player who had reported to camp by yesterday morning, although Okumbi said all the foreign-based players, including David ‘Calabar’ Owino, Jesse Were and Brian Mandela would be in camp by evening.
Captain Victor Wanyama, midfielder Johanna Omollo, striker Michael Olunga and Ayub Timbe asked to be excluded from the squad last week for various reasons.
Okumbi called up a team of 50 players last week, which included 15 foreign-based stars and 36 local based players.
The team was however split in two after reporting to camp on Sunday, with the senior team training with coach Stanley Okumbi and John Kamau and the reserve team, training under coach Musa Otieno and Frank Ouna.
The senior team will leave for Mozambique Thursday afternoon.
Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers), Peter Odhiambo (Gor Mahia), Gabriel Andika (AFC Leopards), Farouk Shikalo (Posta Rangers).
Defenders: Benard Ochieng (Vihiga United), Harun Shakava (Gor Mahia), Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Simon Mbugua (Posta Rangers), Collins Shivachi (Tusker), Joseph Okumu (Unattached), Jockins Atudo (Posta Rangers), Robinson Kamura (AFC Leopards), Wesley Onguso (Sofapaka), Dennis Shikhayi (AFC Leopards) Pascal Ogweno (Kariobangi Sharks), Abud Omar (Slava Sofia, Bulgaria), David Ochieng (New York Cosmos, USA), David Owino (Zesco, Zambia), Brian Mandela (Maritzburg United, South Africa).
Midfielders: Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia), Victor Majid (AFC Leopards), George Odhiambo (Gor Mahia), Jackson Macharia (Tusker), Alpha Onyango (Kakamega High School), Duncan Otieno (AFC Leopards), Peter Nganga (Nakuru All Stars), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia), Patillah Omotto (Kariobangi Sharks), Anthony Akumu (Zesco, Zambia), Clifton Miheso (Buildcon FC, Zambia), Erick Johanna (Vasalund’s FC, Sweden), Mark Makwatta (Buildcon FC, Zambia), Ayub Timbe (Beijing Renhe, China).
Strikers: Boniface Muchiri (Tusker), Kepha Aswani (Nakumatt), Masoud Juma (Kariobangi Sharks), Boniface Omondi (Gor Mahia), Moses Mudavadi (Kakamega Homeboyz), James Mazembe (Kakamega High School), Ezekiel Otuoma (Western Stima), Joe Waithera (Wazito), Chris Ochieng (Mathare United), Nicholas Kipkirui (Zoo Kericho), Marcellus Ingotsi (AFC Leopards), Jesse Were (Zesco, Zambia).
The European transfer window closes on Thursday.