‘Olunga, Odada not omitted’ – Harambee Stars coach Firat clarifies 

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024 10:07 | By
Firat promises changes to Harambee Stars’ starting XI against Seychelles tonight
Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat addressing the press. PHOTO/Harambee Stars(@Harambee__Stars)/X

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has clarified that Michael Olunga, Daniel Anyembe, and Richard Odada have not been excluded from the squad for the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Firat named a provisional squad with the trio missing, and this caused a lot of jitters and shock within the soccer circles given how they have been key players for the national outfit.

The Turkish coach said what was needed was clarification when the squad was named on May 20, 2024.

“What should have been clarified is that the squad that was released by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) was a provisional one that should not have included foreign-based players.

"The position is that Olunga, Anyembe, and Odada are part of the team, but they will link up with us in Malawi since they are still engaged with their clubs and will not train with us at home before we leave," Firat is quoted as saying by a local publication.

Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga training at Kasarani. PHOTO/(@Harambee__Stars)/Harambee Stars/Twitter
Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga training at Kasarani. PHOTO/(@Harambee__Stars)/X

Key stars

Olunga, Odada, and Anyembe have been key players in their respective departments, and when their names were missing from the squad, it generated a lot of topics as many wondered why Firat made that decision.

The Four Nations tournament-winning tactician in Malawi said there was no way Olunga would miss his squad.

“Last week, during an interview in Turkey, I made it clear that Olunga is one of our top players. There is no way I can leave him out of such an important match," he continued.

The Turkish coach further said that some more players are still in consideration given that they are currently injured.

“There are some players still under consideration due to the fact that they are either injured or recovering from injury," he continued.

One of the major problems Harambee Stars are facing is a lack of a home ground to host matches, Firat emphasised but he is hopeful the good record registered away will continue as they chase a ticket to the next World Cup.

“We have played most of our matches away in the last year, so this is not special. We have actually built a good record, and we hope to continue with the same next month,” Firat concluded.

Harambee Stars will host Burundi in Malawi as Nyayo and Moi International Sports Complex undergo renovation.

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