Fill Wanyama’s big boots – Cheche throws challenge
Kenyan international David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng’ admitted Victor Wanyama will be a big miss when the Harambee Stars take on Mozambique during their friendly slated for September 2 in Maputo.
The US-based defender however stated the captain’s absence will surely give fringe players the chance to prove their worth with the national team ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers.
Wanyama’s club, Tottenham Hotspur, requested that the midfielder who is recovering from an injury be exempted from international duty.
“This a good chance for someone else as we wait for Victor to join us in their next game. It’s very important that we go and win this match because it will give us confidence as we head into the qualifying matches for AFCON,” the defender who features for North American Soccer League (NASL) side New York Cosmos said.
Cheche is the only foreign-based player who has reported to camp thus far with others; Michael Olunga, Ayub Timbe and Johanna ‘Tosh’ Omollo having joined Wanyama in requesting to be withdrawn from Stars duty owing to varied reasons.
Olunga has been linked to loan move to Spanish LaLiga side Girona and could be on the verge of finalizing the deal in Spain after a sour at Chinese Super League top-tier club Guizhou Zhicheng while Timbe cited personal commitment.
On his part, Tosh requested to be given time to settle at his new Belgian club, Cercle Brugge K.S.V.
More foreign-based players are expected to join arrive on Tuesday evening to join the AFCON team that remained in camp at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies (KSMS) a day before their departure on Thursday.
Stars first coach Stanley Okumbi had called 54 players to the team but explained that the team has been split into two; one for Chan 2018 and the other for AFCON 2019 teams.
The Chan team left for Morocco on Tuesday morning and are scheduled to play against Mauritania and Morocco on August 31 and September 4 respectively.
Okumbi believes with a few adjustments the team will get back to the winning form and he will be able to come up with a strong team.
“Most of the players who will play against Mozambique are the same who have been playing in other friendlies. Then team in Morocco is our CHAN team. We need to prepare for that too,” Okumbi said.
He admitted that the number of foreign-based players missing camp affected his plans for the team but defended his decision to snub left-back Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma who plays for the Georgian top division club, FC Kolkheti.
“The last time we played against Sierra Leone I analyzed how he played and he was not sharp, he was not the Marcelo that we know compared to his game at Gor Mahia FC.
“We can say that their league is not up to standard. When we leave him for this assignment, I know he will have to work harder to up his game,” Okumbi stated.
Ahead of their upcoming AFON qualifiers, Okumbi cited defence and clinical finishing as areas he will want to address.
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