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Highly rated defender Ochieng out of Kimanzi’s plans

By Charles Thuku
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019
Wazito FC captain Bernard Ochieng (left) in action during a past training session with Harambee Stars. Photo/PD/RODGERS NDEGWA

Harambee Stars players kicked-off residential training yesterday at Utalii Hotel as they prepare for this year’s Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) where they will be seeking to win the title  they last won in 2013.

Ordinarily, any coach has his choice of players who he feels have the pedigree to deliver on the pitch.

Francis Kimanzi is such a tactician as a number of players who were in the books of his predecessor Sebastien Migne have fallen out of his favour in the Harambee Stars squad that will do duty in the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup which kicks off this weekend stretching to December 19 in Kampala, Uganda

It can be recalled that ex-Vihiga United defender Bernard Ochieng, who is now Wazito FC captain, Kakamega Homeboyz striker Allan Wanga and AFC Leopards midfield gem Whyvonne Isuza were summoned by Migne for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt before being dropped.

As for the Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifier, Migne gave a nod to the likes of Kariobangi Sharks goalkeeper John Oyemba, Gor Mahia defender Charles Momanyi, Wazito’s Pistone Mutamba and Nicholas Kipkirui of Gor.

Curiously, none of these players has attracted the eyes of Kimanzi and Kenyan fans will see some of the freshest talents in Uganda in what the trainer say is a bid to explore talent and give fast rising players a chance in the national team.

Among the new faces are defenders Suleiman Ngotho and Daniel Sakari of Post Rangers and Kariobangi Sharks respectively, midfielder Reagan Otieno of Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Luke Namanda of Tusker, Mathare United’s Roy Okal, Mohammed Katana of Bandari and school boy Benson Omala of Western Stima

Cecafa under-20 championships best goalkeeper Brian Bwire who was called up to the Harambee Stars squad for the upcoming Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda has pulled out due to an injury.

Bwire, who is nursing a hip injury, has been replaced by Western Stima shot-stopper Samuel Odhiambo.