Keepers retain slots in Stars squad for Malawi duty
Harambee Stars First Coach Stanley Okumbi has included 15 players who were not part of the set-up that played Uganda and DR Congo in March for the national team’s friendly against Malawi on April 18.
Okumbi named his 25-man squad featuring only local-based players and will the clash as a build up for the CAF Africa Home Nations Championships (Chan) that will be held in Kenya between January 11 and February 2 next year.
The goalkeeping department remains unchanged with Gor Mahia’s Boniface Oluoch and Posta Rangers’ Patrick Matasi retaining their places, while Kariobangi Sharks duo Pascal Ogweno and Bolton Omwenga make the cut for backline.
Bandari FC’s Siraj Mohammed joins the party, as Ulinzi Star’s Omar Mbongi makes a return after a long spell on the fringes to complete the defense that consists of stalwarts Musa Mohammed, Robinson Kamaura, Simon Mbugua, Joakins Atudo and Harun Shakava.
Vihaga United’s Chris Masinza, Sony Sugar’s Amos Asembeka, Posta Rangers duo Joseph Kuria and Duncan Otieno are the new faces in a midfield comprising reigning Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Most Valuable Player Kenneth Muguna, Noah Wafula and Samuel Onyango of Tusker FC and Ulinzi Stars respectively.
Okumbi’s frontline – often dominated by star srikers Jesse Were and Michael Olunga – is made up of Palos FC’s Morven Otinya, Nzoia Sugar’s Masita Masuta, KCB’s Chrispinus Onyango, Darius Msagha of Bandari and Cavin Odongo who features for Sharks.
Returning to the squad also after a long spell is Paul Kiongera of AFC Leopards.
The match will be the third for Okumbi’s charges this year with the former Mathare United tactician now boasting a remarkable 10-match unbeaten run, a record that has seen Kenya rise to 78th in the world FIFA rankings.
The Harambee Stars posted a 2-1 win over DR Congo that followed their 1-1 stalemate against neighbours Uganda Cranes late last month.
Besides building a strong based team, Okumbi is keen to expand his pool of players ahead of the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
The campaign will start away to Sierra Leone in June, before facing Ethiopia and Ghana respectively.
Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia) Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers)
Simon Mbugua (Posta Rangers) Jockins Atudo (Posta Rangers) Robinson Kamura (AFC Leopards) Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia) Pascal Ogweno (Kariobangi Sharks) Harun Shakava (Gor Mahia) Bolton Omwenga (Kariobangi Sharks) Siraj Mohammed (Bandari) Omar Mbongi (Ulinzi)
Duncan Otieno (AFC Leopards) Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia) Joseph Kuria (Posta Rangers) Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia) Amos Asembeka (Sony Sugar) Chris Masinza (Vihiga United) Samuel Onyango (Ulinzi Stars) Noah Wafula (Tusker)
Morven Otinya (Palos) Masita Masuta (Nzoia) Chrispinus Onyango (KCB) Darius Msagha (Bandari) Cavin Odongo (Kariobangi Sharks) Paul Kiongera (AFC Leopards)
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