Avire, un-capped Mbamba the surprise inclusions in Stars AFCON squad


Avire, un-capped Mbamba the surprise inclusions in Stars AFCON squad
(FILE)Harambee Stars pose for a team photo prior to their match against Ethiopia in Bahar Dar on October 10,2018.PHOTO/Citizen/Mike Okinyi

In Summary

  • Sofapaka ace John Avire and uncapped Sweden based Chris Mbamba are the surprise inclusions in coach Sebastien Migne’s Harambee Stars squad named Tuesday for the 2019 African Cup of Nations final set to be held in Egypt.

  • Also making the cut in the provisional 30-man squad is on-form AFC Leopards attacking midfielder Whyvonne Isuza while Kariobangi Sharks  duo Jeff Oyemba and Brian Bwire are among the four goalkeepers in the squad  alongside Ethiopia based Patrick Matasi and Bandari’s Farouk Shikahlo.

Sofapaka ace John Avire and uncapped Sweden based Chris Mbamba are the surprise inclusions in coach Sebastien Migne’s Harambee Stars squad named Tuesday for the 2019 African Cup of Nations final set to be held in Egypt.

Also making the cut in the provisional 30-man squad is on-form AFC Leopards attacking midfielder Whyvonne Isuza while Kariobangi Sharks  duo Jeff Oyemba and Brian Bwire are among the four goalkeepers in the squad  alongside Ethiopia based Patrick Matasi and Bandari’s Farouk Shikahlo.

The big omission yet again is that of Jesse Were who turns out for Zambian league side Zesco United.

A squad of 26 players will fly out on May 31 for a training camp in France while other four will remain in Kenya on stand-by.

The AFCON showpiece is primed to begin on June 21 in Cairo and will end on July 19 with Migne eyeing to reach at least the knockout stages.

The AFCON squad largely features players who took part in the qualification phase. Ayub Timbe has also been included in the list, after sitting out the final qualifying match against Ghana through injury.

The AFCON bound team is scheduled to jet out to Paris, on May 31, 2019, and has already been booked at the French Rugby Federation, Marcoussis Cedex where they will hold a 19-day residential camp before flying out to Cairo Egypt, on June 19, 2019, in time for the continental showpiece.

Former Lierse SK winger Ayub Timbe applauds fans after a past match. (PHOTO/Lierse SK)
Former Lierse SK winger Ayub Timbe applauds fans after a past match. (PHOTO/Lierse SK)

Football Kenya Federation has also secured two friendly matches in France, against Madagascar on June 7, and the Gambia a week later, on June 15, 2019.

Kenya will play her Group C AFCON matches at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo. The first match will see Stars face Algeria on June 23. Tanzania will be up next on June 27, before Harambee Stars wind it up with a match against Senegal on July 1, 2019.

The coach has also named a 32-man provisional squad for the upcoming Africa Nations Championships qualifiers (CHAN) where Kenya is set to face Burundi in the first round in August 2019.

Enos Ochieng, Joe Waithira, Abdalla Hassan and Kenneth Muguna, meanwhile, highlight players called up to the CHAN squad.

The Africa Nations Championships qualifier against Burundi, in the meantime, is set to be played in August 2019. The winner of the tie on aggregate will face off with either of Tanzania or Sudan in the second and final qualifying round of the tournament, set to be held in Ethiopia in January 2020.

Kenya will be looking to make a maiden appearance at the 16-team tourney reserved exclusively for players actively featuring in their respective national championships.

Full squad

Goalkeepers

Patrick Matasi, Farouk Shikalo, John Oyemba, Brian Bwire

Defenders

David Owino, Brian Mandela, Musa Mohammed, Bernard Ochieng, Joseph Okumu, Joash Onyango, Eric Ouma, Aboud Omar, Philemon Otieno

Midfielders

Victor Wanyama, Ismael Gonzalez, Athony Akumu, Dennis Odhiambo, Johanna Omollo, Francis Kahata, Paul Were, Eric Johanna, Clifton Miheso, Ovella Ochieng, Ayub Timbe

Forwards

Michael Olunga, Masoud Juma, Christopher Mbamba, John Avire, Allan Wanga, Whyvhonne Isuza.

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Story By Jacob Icia
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