Williamson names three new players for Mauritius World Cup qualifier

By alex wafula
Sep 28, 2015
  • Bobby Williamson, the Harambee Stars coach has called three new players as pressure mounts on him to justify his 'big' pay.

Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson has called up 20 players for Kenya’s World Cup qualifier first round match against Mauritius set for Wednesday October 7 in Port Louis.

Among the new names which popped up on Williamson’s list are those of Ulinzi Stars winger Kevin Amwayi, Bandari left back Abdulatiff Omar and Nakumatt FC striker Peter Nzuki.

Missing from the list are names of striker Dennis Oliech, defender Lawrence Olum, midfielder Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth, Noah Wafula and striker Jesse Were.

The players were all part of Kenya’s squad that played in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Zambia early last month.

Greece-based winger Paul Were has also not been called up as he is still nursing a groin injury he picked up 26 minutes into the match against Zambia. The team is expected to camp on Friday October 2.

The team tentatively departs for Mauritius on Sunday or Monday depending on flight availability.

“We will have only two days to train here before we travel. All the foreign based players will link up with us in Mauritius and the training in Nairobi will only involve the locally-based players,” assistant coach Musa Otieno told Sportsnewsarena.com.

The home and away first round ties will be played within a space of four days. The return match is on October 11, 2015 in Nairobi.

Cape Verde awaits Kenya

If Harambee Stars win, their opponents in round two will be Cape Verde. Otieno is optimistic Harambee Stars will qualify for the second round but insists Mauritius which is ranked 185th by Fifa should not be underrated.

“Football has changed and any team can cause an upset. On paper it looks like an easy match but we should not take it that way. We should treat both legs with seriousness and I believe we will qualify for round two,” noted the former Kenyan international.

He also believes starting away will be an advantage, pointing out it will come with less pressure. Otieno adds scoring a goal away from home will be vital and has promised the team’s attack will be sharper.

Bobby Williamson will still be seeking his first competitive win with the senior national team even as a storm rages over his alleged Sh2.5 million per month salary, this being revealed just a few weeks after Kenya’s humbling loss to Zambia in Nairobi.

Pressure will be on the Scot to perform failure to which his job at the helm of the national team will be increasingly under pressure.

Kenya has never qualified for the World Cup. In a previous interview, Williamson admitted it will be a long shot to hope they qualify for the 2018 edition to be held in Russia.

Full Harambee Stars squad

Goalkeepers: Arnold Origi (Lillestrom, Norway), Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia); Defenders: David Owino (Zesco Utd, Zambia), David Ochieng’ (Unattached), Dennis Odhiambo (Thika United), Brian Mandela (Maritzburg Utd, South Africa), Abdulatif Omar (Bandari FC), Edwin Wafula (AFC Leopards); Midfielders: Bernard Mang’oli (AFC Leopards), Peter Nzuki (Nakumatt), Kevin Amwayi (Ulinzi Stars), Johanna Eric (Mathare United), Teddy Akumu (Al Khartoum, Sudan), Johanna Omollo (Royal Antwerp, Belgium), Victor Wanyama (Southampton, England), Ayub Timbe (SK Lierse, Belgium); Strikers: Michael Olunga (Gor Mahia), Allan Wanga (Azam FC, Tanzania), Jacob Kelli (Nkana Red Devils, Zambia).