Harambee Stars resumed training on Monday for the March 26 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Angola with coach Zedekiah Otieno complaining that the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) top eight tournament will affect his preparations.
The tournament to feature the top eight teams last season kicks off on Wednesday and Otieno is worried that he will not have enough time with some of the players he has called up for the Angola match.
Already the coach has been forced to let go of two Ulinzi Stars players who include goalkeeper Francis Ochieng and midfielder Steven Waruru who have been retained by their club for Wednesday’s league match against Thika United.
The match had earlier been scheduled for February 25 but the KPL champions were unavailable because they had a continental engagement against Zamalek of Egypt. Western Stima have taken Alois Mangi for their Wednesday top eight opening match against Tusker Fc who also have two players in the national team and include Noah Abich and Jockins Atudo.
“This kind of disruption is not good for the team. We expect to loose more players next week to represent their team in the top eight tournament. It will interfere with my plans,” said Otieno.
The coach is scheduled to raise the matter with the Harambee Stars Management Board (HSMB) on Tuesday. Otieno also said the disruption may also interfere with a scheduled friendly international planned for next week against Tanzania’s Taifa Stars at Nyayo National Stadium.
“Iam worried that when i have to pick my final team to face Angola, i may have dropped some good players because of lack of enough time to watch them in training because they have to go to their clubs for one reason or another,” he said.
The 30 member squad which also includes eight professional players will be whittled down to 20 in the last week before Angola come calling. Currently, 22 local players are training in Nairobi for the up-coming fixture.
Kenya must win the match to revive their hopes of qualifying for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations finals.