Uncertainty over foreign-based players for Cape Verde tie

By alex wafula
Nov 09, 2015
  • Harambee Stars' John Ndirangu, Musa Mohammed and Ali Abondo assembled to start training for the match against Cape Verde. There's doubt about foreign-based players. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

There is an uncertainty over the availability of foreign-based players for Harambee Stars’ World Cup qualifying match against Cape Verde because the government is silent about its commitment to pay for  flight tickets.

Football Kenya Federation had sent out a communique saying the government had promised to send out tickets to the players for the match on Friday. The federation went on to ‘thank the government for its commitment.’ But, there has been no communication from Wario’s ministry.

A spot check by sportsnewsarena.com on whether the foreign players had received their tickets showed none had. Players who spoke to sportsnewsarena.com on condition of anonymity said they will not be willing to come for the match if they are not sent tickets. This is because they have still not been refunded for using their own cash for the first round ties.

Belgium-based midfielder Ayub Timbe might miss the match after picking an injury while playing for his side Lierse. “We have received that report but we are yet to get official communication from the club's  medical department on the exact nature and extent of injury,” Stars’ assistant coach Musa Otieno explained.

Of the foreign based players expected, Arnold Origi has already wound up his season with Norwegian side Lillestrom same as Anthony Akumu with Al Khartoum in Sudan. David Owino has one game remaining to finish the season with his Zambian club Zesco while Allan Wanga is available because the Tanzanian league resumes after the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup.

Belgium-based Johannah Omollo, South African-based Brian Mandela and skipper Victor Wanyama who plays in England for Southampton have their leagues still running. With the game set for Friday, time is running out for the players to report to camp although Otieno remains optimistic.

Harambee Stars continued with their preparations for Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde with Williamson calling up Bandari defender Shariff Mohammed. Clifton Miheso whose season in Finland’s top flight ended over the weekend is the only foreign-based player in camp.

Ulinzi Stars, Bandari and Gor Mahia players who were engaged over the weekend also joined on Monday morning.

Tough Cecafa draw

Meanwhile, Kenya’s Harambee Stars, the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup defending champions have been pooled in a group of death for the 2015 edition of the championship which will be held in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, from November 21.

Harambee Stars is in the same pool with 2012 champions Uganda Cranes, Burundi and Djibouti. Group A will see the hosts Ethiopia battle against invitational side Zambia, Tanzania and Somalia while Group C will have Sudan, Rwanda, Zanzibar and South Sudan. The top two sides in each group qualify for the quarter final and will be joined by the best third-placed team.

Stars assistant coach Otieno has admitted it will be a tough pool but maintains the side intend to win their matches as defending champions.

Kenya has not fared well against both Uganda and Burundi in the recent past. “Uganda are our local rivals and that will definitely be one tough match. Burundi and Djibouti are also not easy teams but we need to prepare well for the tournament. We have called up a huge squad for the World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde because we also need to look at a couple other players who we will use for the senior challenge cup,” Otieno told sportsnewsarena.com.

The Senior Challenge Cup is expected to renew rivalry among Gor Mahia players with the likes of Khalid Aucho and Godfrey Walusimbi expected to feature for Uganda, Karim Nzigiyimana for Burundi and Gor’s legion of Harun Shakava, Musa Mohammed, Boniface Oluoch and Michael Olunga expected to star for Kenya.

FKF promotes two clubs

In another development, FKF have promoted two clubs from the lower tier FKF Premier League to play in the Sportpesa-sponsored Kenyan Premier League next season. This comes just less than two weeks after FKF in a terse statement said they will be standing by their SGM decision to promote six from the FKF-PL and demote four from the KPL.

In its statement on Monday, FKF said it had promoted Kakamega Homeboyz and Posta Rangers to the KPL after both ‘topped the FKF PL’. But this is set to bring a showdown with a couple of clubs which had boycotted the last few remaining matches of the league owing to awarding of boardroom points to Shabana and Homeboyz.

But despite the meeting by 15 of the 17 FKF-PL clubs where the boycott decision was made, a number of clubs still honored their fixtures while the rest were given walk overs by FKF. The federation in its statement today says the NEC will sit down and deliberate on the actions to be taken on clubs which boycotted their matches.

FKF-PL chair Nick Mwendwa has already said they will not accept any relegation/promotion modalities done by the federation over the boycott by clubs and their issues not addressed.

CECAFA draw

Group A: Ethiopia, Zambia, Tanzania, Somalia; Group B: Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti; Group C: Sudan, Rwanda, South Sudan, Zanzibar.