National under-23 off to Egypt on Friday

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Feb 25, 2021
  • Bob Williamson is faced with a blunt striking force for the match against Egypt but has confidence in those called up. (SNA File Photo)

After their All Africa Games Qualifier against Egypt was postponed last weekend, the Kenyan national team flies out to Cairo on Friday ahead of their match which is set for Sunday afternoon.

Coach Bobby Williamson has been taking the team through its paces at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani but is disappointed he will not have his entire squad.

Gor Mahia and Sofapaka players have been forced to pull out of the team because their clubs will be playing in CAF matches on the same weekend. “If the game had been set for last weekend, I would have had my full squad. However, some of the most important players have been forced out because of club duty.

It is very tough to have players who you have worked with for quite some time in training pulling out when you had them in your plans,” Williamson explained.

Timothy Otieno, Michael Olunga and Bernard Odhiambo returned to Gor Mahia while Collins Shivachi and Enock Agwanda were recalled by Sofapaka. The removal of the five from camp has left Williamson with a striking nightmare with Otieno, Olunga and Agwanda among the players he was looking at to bang in the goals in Cairo.

Williamson has called up Bandari’s new signing David Gateri and Nakumatt FC goal-getter Peter Nzuki in a bid to strengthen his attacking options. “I believe this is an opportunity for the other players to show their worth and it has helped me also to have a chance to see as many players as possible. Though it is a blow not to have the slightly experienced players, we will work hard with the players we have,” he noted.

Williamson led Kenya’s senior team to a friendly match in Egypt last year in August and there are a couple of players in the current squad who were part of the team in that friendly match. Vincent Omumbo, Timonah Wanyonyi and David King’atua were in the squad that played against Egypt and Williamson will be looking on them to provide leadership and experience for the rest of his charges.

“We will be looking at least at getting an away goal from the tie and if we get a victory it will be a plus for us. Of course our players have not had much match exercise because our league has barely started and that will be a challenge. Our opponents also have better budgets and therefore there preparation has been better,” Williamson noted.

Squad to Egypt

Goalkeepers; Robert Mboya (Mathare United), Ian Otieno (Posta Rangers); Defenders: Vincent Omumbo (Thika United), Robinson Kamura (Mathare United), Hilary Otieno (Kariobangi Sharks), Sosthenes Idah (KCB), Brian Birgen (Ulinzi Stars; Midfielders: Tairus Omondi (KCB), Steve Wakhanya (Chemelil Sugar), Vincent Odongo, Harrison Mwenda (Mathare United), John Ndirangu, Victor Ndinya, David King’atua (Bandari), Timonah Wanyonyi (AFC Leopards), John Nairuka (Ulinzi Stars); Strikers: Peter Nzuki (Nakumatt), David Gateri (Bandari).