Full house for Stars as Olunga, ‘Marcelo’ join camp


Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga celebrates scoring one of his goals against DR Congo during ...
Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga celebrates scoring one of his goals against DR Congo during their International Friendly match at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on March 26, 2017. Kenya won 2-1. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

By Stanley Mativo

Kenya’s internationals Michael Olunga and Georgia  based defender Eric Marcelo are the latest foreign based players to join Harambee Stars in Iraq as they prepare to face the host in a friendly match  slated for Thursday and against Thailand on Sunday.

Olunga is preparing for his 24th cap with Stars which will be his first game with the national side since joining Spanish La Liga side, Girona FC.

Ayub Timbe (2nd L) celebrate scoring against Congo with teammates captain Victor Wanyama (L), Eric Ouma and Michael Olunga during their AFCON 2017 qualifier match at Safaricom stadium Kasarani on June 05, 2016. Kenya won 2-1. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com
Ayub Timbe (2nd L) celebrate scoring against Congo with teammates captain Victor Wanyama (L), Eric Ouma and Michael Olunga during their AFCON 2017 qualifier match at Safaricom stadium Kasarani on June 05, 2016. Kenya won 2-1. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

The duo’s arrival is a boost for the Stanley Okumbi led team .The two join Aboud Omar who plies his trade in Bulgaria and Sweden based Eric Johanna who had joined camp.

Zambia based quintet Jesse Were, David Owino, Anthony Akumu, John Mark Makwatta and Clifton Miheso linked up with the locally based players in Nairobi, before leaving for Iraq.

Harambee Stars coach Starnley Okumbi reacts against Malawi during their International Friendly match at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on April 18, 2017. The match ended 0-0. Photo/Oliver Ananda/www.sportpicha.com
Harambee Stars coach Starnley Okumbi reacts against Malawi during their International Friendly match at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on April 18, 2017. The match ended 0-0. Photo/Oliver Ananda/www.sportpicha.com

Zesco defender David Owino who will lead the team in place of injured captain Victor Wanyama said that playing a different team from a different continent is a good exposure for the boys.

“This game (against Iraq) will give us a lot of confidence so that by the time the qualifiers begin, we’re much prepared,” Owino said in a statement.

The Stars have been polishing their grey areas at the Basra International Stadium, the venue of Thursday’s friendly. The tie will be the second on home soil for the Asian country after FIFA lifted the ban on the country’s stadia over hooliganism and racist chants.

Having recorded mixed results in the last few games, Okumbi will be aiming to get things back on track. Stars recently slumped in Fifa rankings, dropping to position 88 from 84 after the 2-1 defeat to Sierra Leone on June 10 in an Afarican Cup of Nation qualifiers.

Full Squad

Goalkeepers

Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers), Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia)

Defenders

Musa Mohammed,Haron Shakava (Gor Mahia),  Dennis Sikhayi, Robinson Kamura (AFC Leopards), Simon Mbugua, Joackins Atudo (Posta Rangers),David Owino ( Zesco FC), Abud Omar (Slava Sofia), Erick Ouma(Kolkheti Poti)

Midfielders

Anthony Akuma (Zesco FC),  Kenneth Muguna, Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia), Patilah Omoto (Kariobangi Sharks), Samuel Onyango, Stephen Waruru (Ulinzi Stars), Eric Johanna Omondi (Vasalund”s FC), Boniface Muchiri (Tusker FC), Clifton Miheso (Buildcon FC)

Strikers

John Mark Makwata (Buikdcon FC,Zambia), Masud Juma (Kariobangi Sharks), Jesse Jackson Were (Zesco United,Zambia), Michael Olunga (Girona FC,Spain).

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Story By Stanley Mativo
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