A SportPesa Premier League all-star team left the country early Sunday for Spain for friendly games against Spanish lower-tier sides Cordoba and Sevilla Atlético this week.
The team comprised of 18 local-based players drawn from top flight clubs by Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi and the national under-20 coach John Kamau.
Gor Mahia goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch made the final cut, as did Ulinzi Stars’ midfielder Samuel Onyango and Kariobangi Sharks duo of Patillah Omotto and Ovella Ochieng.
Sharks defender Bolton Omwenga and Posta Rangers goalkeeper Faruk Shikhalo were axed from the initial list that had engaged in non-residential training in the course of last week.
The travelling squad is widely viewed as the team that will represent Kenya in the African Nations Championship next year, and Okumbi hopes that the two games will give them the requisite exposure and experience.
“When you are approaching such a game you want to select the best players and that is what I did. There are about 400 players in the premier league and even though there are players that couldn’t travel for various reasons, we have the best local-based players on board.
“Winning would be nice, but the greater goal is to help these players gain exposure and experience that will help them in other future engagements. Most of them are below 23 years, which means they are the future of the national team,” Okumbi said.
The Kenyan team will play Cordoba Club de Fútbol on Wednesday July 19, before they take on Sevilla Atlético three days later. Both games will be played in the Andalusia region of Spain.
This is the first of a number of programmes lined up under a recently signed partnership signed between La Liga and Kenyan Premier League management on May 11 with the aim of improving local football.
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), Benson Iregi (Thika United),
Midfielders: 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), Vincent Oburu (AFC Leopards)
Forwards: Victor Omondi (Nzoia Sugar), Samuel Onyango (Ulinzi Stars)