Okumbi names five new faces in Harambee Stars squad

By alex wafula
May 19, 2021
  • Ulinzi Stars midfielder Daniel Waweru controls the ball under pressure from Western Stima's Jackson Saleh. He has been called up for national duties. (SNA. File Photo)

Ulinzi Stars’ Daniel Waweru, Posta Rangers’ Titus Achesa, Tusker’s Marlon Tangauzi, Sony’s Boniface Muchiri and Wazito FC’s Joseph Waithera are the five new faces in Stanley Okumbi’s squad for a friendly match against Angola on June 4.

This will be the second build up match involving the squad of locally-based players which is being put together for next year’s African Nations Championship to be held in Kenya.

Okumbi has reiterated that he has named a strong squad, purely based on current form.

“With my technical bench, we have been attending all the matches this season and the players we have called in are deserving and have earned their places. It is a strong team which we hope will do well against Angola,” Okumbi said.

Ulinzi’s Waweru has been in good form for the military side, contributing directly to nine of the 17 goals they have scored this season with six assists and three goals.

Achesa, signed by Posta Rangers last season from Nakuru All Stars has quickly adopted to a new role as a left back having been previously used as an offensive player.

Meanwhile, Tangauzi will earn his first ever chance with the national team having joined Tusker FC at the start of the season from Uganda where he had spent most of his life.

The defender who can play anywhere across the back four has been a consistent figure in the Tusker FC backline.

Waruru recalled after three years

At the same time, Kenyan Premier League top scorer Stephen Waruru has been recalled to the team, almost three years after his last show.

Waruru has scored six goals in eight matches for Ulinzi since returning after being out for two years on military duty.

Waithira is the only second tier player who has been called in to camp. “It is very important to have these matches because they help us build up and get the best players we can for the game. We want to expose and give a chance to as many players as possible so it is important we have these games often,” Okumbi underscored.

After Angola, Harambee Stars will shift their attention to the first AFCON 2019 Qualifier away to Sierra Leone which will be played in Freetown on June 10.

Okumbi says the local lads have been given an opportunity to prove their worth and those who will impress will be included for the Sierra Leone trip.

The tactician is pleased that this time round he will have a full squad. During the last friendly match against Malawi in March, Okumbi was forced to use second stringers with most of the top clubs having withdrawn their players because the match fell too close to league fixtures.

This time though, the league will have gone for the mid season break on March 28 and the players will report to camp immediately.

Meanwhile, the squad of local based players is lined up to play more friendly matches.

After the AFCON qualifiers, they have been listed to play against Ivory Coast, third place finishers in the last CHAN in Rwanda as well as South Africa.

Robert Muthomi, the Football Kenya Federation Chief Executive Officer has also confirmed that during the FIFA friendly weeks in October and November, they will get a huge friendly for the national team against a side ranked higher than them.

Harambee Stars Squad

Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), James Saruni (Ulinzi Stars), Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers).

Defenders: Bolton Omwenga (Kariobangi Sharks), Haron Shakava (Gor Mahia), Titus Achesa (Posta Rangers), Jockins Atudo (Posta Rangers), Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Pascal Ogweno (Kariobangi Sharks), Robinson Kamura (AFC Leopards), Simon Mbugua (Posta Rangers), Marlon Tangauzi (Tusker).

Midfielders: Ovella Ochieng (Kariobangi Sharks), Daniel Waweru (Ulinzi Stars), Duncan Otieno (AFC Leopards), Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia), Jackson Macharia (Tusker), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia), Samuel Onyango (Ulinzi Stars), Victor Majid (Chemelil Sugar).

Strikers: Boniface Muchiri (SoNy Sugar), Daniel Mwaura (Mathare United), Joseph Waithera (Wazito FC), Masita Masuta (Nzoia Sugar), Masoud Musa (Kariobangi Sharks), Stephen Waruru (Ulinzi Stars).