WCQ: What you need to know about Harambee Stars’ training, travelling and match schedule

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2024 11:24 | By
Harambee Stars in a training session.
Harambee Stars in a training session. PHOTO/@Harambee__Stars/X

As Harambee Stars prepare to face Burundi in a 2026 World Cup qualifier, we bring you up to speed on how their training, travelling and matchday plan look like.

The Stars started training on May 21 after head coach Engin Firat named a provisional squad the day before.

The first training session included mostly local-based players and those who were given their first-ever call-ups. Brian Okoth of Kenya Police and Bruce Kamau, who plays for Perth Glory in Australia, are in camp, as well as Abud Omar, Austin Odhiambo, Kenneth Muguna, Bonphas Munyasa, Kaycie Odhiambo, Patrick Matasi, Chris Erambo, Benson Omala, and Rooney Onyango, who all ply their trade locally, who also took part in the session.

Of those who play abroad, two of them - John Avire and Anthony Akumu, are already in the camp. According to the Football Kenya Federation, 22 more players are expected to link up with the team before they leave for Malawi.

Match schedule

Kenya will face Burundi on June 7, 2024, before facing the reigning Africa Cup of Nations winners, Ivory Coast, on June 11, 2024. Firat and his players will leave for Lilongwe, Malawi, on June 2.

Stars will host the two qualifiers away from home given that the two major Nairobi facilities, Nyayo Stadium in the CBD and Moi International Sports Complex, are undergoing renovations and thus not CAF-approved to host such games.

Tournament format

Harambee Stars are third out of six in Group F after picking up three points from the opening two matches against Gabon and Seychelles. 

Only the top team in the group will qualify for the 48-team World Cup, which will be played across 16 cities in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

Four of the best runners-up from the nine groups will also get a lifeline in a playoff that will determine CAF’s representative in the inter-confederation playoffs involving six teams, which will decide the last two FIFA World Cup berths.

Aboud Omar in a training session with Harambee Stars. PHOTO/@Harambee__Stars/X
Aboud Omar in a training session with Harambee Stars. PHOTO/@Harambee__Stars/X

Provisional squad

Goalkeepers: Patrick Matasi (Kenya Police), Byrne Odhiambo (Bandari), Boniphas Munyasa (Muranga Seal), Ian Otieno (Zesco, Zambia)

Defenders: Johnstone Omurwa (Estrela, Portugal), Alphonse Omija (Dhofar-Oman), Amos Nondi (Ararat, Armenia), Brian Okoth (Kenya Police), Abud Omar (Kenya Police), Tobias Knost (SV Verl, Germany)

Midfielders: John Ochieng (Zanaco, Zambia), Eric Johanna (UTA, Romania), Adam Wilson (Bradford City, England), Anthony Akumu (Unattached), Kenneth Muguna (Kenya Police), Kaycie Odhiambo (AFC Leopards), Chrispine Erambo (Tusker), Rooney Onyango (Gor Mahia), Ayub Timbe (Sabail, Azeberijan), Duke Abuya (Singida, Tanzania), Bruce Kamau (Perth Glory, Australia)

Forwards: John Avire (Misr El Makasa, Egypt), Austine Odhiambo (Gor Mahia), Benson Omala (Gor Mahia), Elvis Rupia (Singida, Tanzania)

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