New Harambee Stars head coach Firat recalls Onyango, ‘Calabar’, Aboud Omar as he drops Masoud and Eric Johana
Charles Thuku and Webster Nyandika
Newly-recruited Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has summoned two greenhorns ahead of the back-to-back 2022 World Cup qualifying matches against Mali early next month.
The new faces in the 34-man squad are midfielders Philip Mayaka of Colorado Rapids of the United States of America (USA) and Keegan Ndemi of Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League side Bandari.
Those who are making a comeback in the squad are two former Gor Mahia defenders David “Calabar” Owino who have since joined NAPSA Stars of Zambia and Joash “Berlin Wall” Onyango, of Tanzania’s Simba.
Also returning to the national team are Real Murcia (Spain) midfielder Ismail Gonzalez as well as Tanzania’s Yanga FC goalkeeper Farouk Shikalo, Kenya’s reserve goalkeeper at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt and left full back Abud Omar who plies his trade for Greek side AEL Larisa.
Richard Odada of Serbian side Red Star Belgrade and who made his first senior start in the opening match of the campaign against Uganda has also been selected.
Firat, who replaced Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee as the team coach a fortnight ago, has also consulted widely and included South Africa-based Ovella Ochieng’, a key member of Stars at the biannual Africa premier competition that was won by Algeria.
Noteable absentee in the team are Masoud Juma, Eric Johana, Cliff Nyakeya who recently joined Wazito after being released by Egypt’s Al Masr and South Africa-based duo of Brian Mandela and Teddy Akumu.
Stars face Mali away in Morocco on October 7 before engaging the West Africans in the return match at Stade De 26 in Bamako on October 10.
Local based players enter camp today while the foreign-based legion will link up with the team based on their league commitments over the weekend.
Stars leave for Morocco on October 4 ahead of the match.
Kenya is currently second on the standings on two points, two behind leaders Mali and are level on points with Uganda.