Two Harambee Stars teams for friendly and training camp

By alex wafula
Aug 30, 2017
  • Harambee Stars striker George Odhiambo during training with the team ahead of a friendly against Mozambique.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Harambee Stars players Duncan Otieno Alpha Onyango during training with the team ahead of a friendly against Mozambique.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

National football team Harambee Stars split into two ahead of this weekend’s FIFA international friendly window.

The first team will head to Mozambique for a friendly match while the second team left for Morocco early Tuesday for a week-long training camp.

The second team is purely made up of local based players and will be under assistant coach Musa Otieno and Frank Ouna.

They are scheduled to play two friendly matches, against the hosts and Mauritania all in the North African country.

“The second team is part of our plans to build up for CHAN and we have put in players who have not had first team experience before. Of course we want to ensure that we expose as many players as possible so that we have a strong team next year,” Stanley Okumbi, the Harambee Stars coach said.

The squad that left for Morocco included many uncapped players.

Among them is the national super league trio of Joe Waithira, Pistone Mutamba (Wazito FC) and Vihiga United defender Bernard Ochieng.

Ogweno, goalkeeper Oluoch in the Morocco squad 

Also in the team is Kariobangi Sharks defender Pascal Ogweno, never mind his questionable defensive record.

The defender is currently serving a six-match ban from the Kenyan Premier League due to indiscipline.

First team keeper Boniface Oluoch has also been included in the squad. Oluoch has been fading away from the Gor Mahia first team and only returned to action in the Mashemeji Derby last weekend.

His inclusion in what is referred to as the ‘B’ team might as well have sealed his fate as the national team starter. Also included in the Morocco squad is schoolboy James Mazembe who schools at Kakamega High School.

Another school boy, Alpha Onyango, also at Kakamega High has been included in the senior team.

Timbe, Omollo among pros' missing friendly 

At the same time, Okumbi has been hit with four foreign based players opting out of the Mozambique friendly. Skipper Victor Wanyama has only returned to training after an injury plagued pre-season and asked to be excluded.

China based Ayub Timbe and Belgium based Johannah Omollo have also asked to be excluded from the friendly as they settle down with their new clubs.

Timbe though has had a longer period with his Chinese second tier club Beijing Renhe while Omollo only recently joined Belgian second tier side Cercle Brugge.

Striker Michael Olunga will also not be part of the trip as he is still working on landing a new club after being overlooked by his Chinese Super League club Guizhou Zhicheng, barely a year after joining.

But Okumbi believes despite the absence of the key players, they will still put up a strong performance against Mozambique.

Conspicuously missing from the squad is left back Erick ‘Marcelo’ Ouma who plies his trade with Georgian side Kolkheti Poti.

Team leaves thursday for Maputo 

Okumbi explained he left the defender out due to poor form and insinuated that the Georgian league is weaker hence his drop in form.

“I analyzed how he played against Sierra Leone and he wasn’t sharp; he wasn’t the Marcelo we knew at Gor. Maybe the Georgian League is not that strong. But it is a challenge to him, the next time he comes, he will work harder,” Okumbi said.

The statement by the tactician effectively puts under doubt not only Ouma’s future but that of midfielders Amos Nondi and John Macharia who play for the same club. Interestingly though, Okumbi has called on defender Joseph Okumu who is unattached after leaving South African side Free State Stars at the close of last season.

The team to Mozambique is expected to depart on Thursday.

By Tuesday evening, USA based David Ochieng as well as Zambia’s David Owino, Jesse Were, Teddy Akumu, John Makwatta and Clifton Miheso were the only ones who had arrived.

Among other foreign based players expected to join in are South Africa based Brian Mandela and Sweden based Eric Johannah.

Harambee Stars squad to Morocco Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Faruk Shikhalo (Posta Rangers). Defenders: Benard Ochieng (Vihiga United), Wesley Onguso (Sofapaka), Dennis Sikhayi (AFC Leopards), Pascal Ogweno (Kariobangi Sharks) Joseph Okumu (un-attached), Harun Shakava (Gor Mahia), Titus Achesa, Simon Mbugua (Posta Rangers), Collins Shivachi (Tusker). Midfielders: Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia), Patillah Omoto (Kariobangi Sharks) Clinton Kisiavuki (Nakumatt FC), Jackson Macharia (Tusker) Strikers: Kepha Aswani (Nakumatt), Masud Juma (Kariobangi Sharks), Boniface Omondi (Gor Mahia), James Mazembe (Kakamega High), Nicholas Kipkirui (Zoo Kericho), Joe Waithira, Pistone Mutamba (Wazito FC).