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Zico eyes permanent Stars role

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NAIROBI, Kenya, October 24- Harambee Stars head coach, Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno, has offered himself to be permanently contracted to the team once his deal with Kenyan Premier League (KPL) club Gor Mahia expires in two months.

Otieno, who took temporary charge of the team in February following an agreement between Football Kenya Limited (FKL) and Harambee Stars Management Board (HSMB), is currently preparing the side to face Seychelles in a 2014 World Cup knockout pre-qualifier.

“For now, I’m comfortable with the arrangement I have with FKL and HSMB even though I’m still under contract with Gor Mahia. No one can give you two contracts at the same time but I will be a free agent in two months and can take up the (Stars) job,” Otieno told Capital Sport on Monday.

At the moment, Otieno is serving his third week suspended as Gor Mahia coach having been asked to step aside over a poor run of results while his assistant, Leonard Saleh, was fired by KCB on text a fortnight ago.

With Saturday’s Football Kenya polls bringing an end to FKL running of the game in the country, the coach who led Kenya to third position in Group J during the just concluded 2012 Africa Nations Cup qualifiers is not concerned that a change in guard will affect his chances of landing the Stars head coach role on permanent basis.

“For me, the elections are not disturbing and the focus now is to ensure we beat Seychelles and we qualify for the 2014 World Cup group stage,” he emphasised.

Otieno was speaking after Stars entered their second week of training for the two-legged tie where the team will be away to Seychelles on November 12 before playing the home leg three days later.

Once again, domestic competition fixture schedule robbed the side the entire complement of local players called-up as only 15 reported to camp.

The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) tie featuring Gor Mahia and Chemelil on Monday and FKL Cup final on Wednesday where the former take on Sofapaka have contrived to deny Stars the full set of players.

“The camp is not full yet. I hope that by next week, we shall have a full house and this is affecting the programme our coach has for us. We have not started working on the tactics he wishes us to employ and this could be a problem,” assistant captain, Pascal Ochieng, said.

His coach had a more damning assessment charging, “The World Cup is the showpiece of football and that is why every country plays the league so as to help their players to qualify for it. If KPL cannot see this, then I do not know what they are doing.”

Stars who are expected to leave for Seychelles on November 10 expect overseas based players to start linking up with the team next week according to the technical bench.

Stars players in camp

Goalkeepers- Jacktone Odhiambo (Ulinzi) and Patrick Matasi (AFC Leopards)

Defenders: Isaac Otieno (Tusker), Anthony Kimani (Mathare United), Eugine Asike (KCB), James Situma (Albania), Robert Kweya (Western Stima), Brian Mandela (Tusker) and Pascal Ochieng (Rangers).

Midfielders: Rama Salim (Congo United), Chrispine Olando (Tusker), Peter Opiyo (Thika United)

Strikers: Mike Barasa (AFC Leopards), Stephen Waruru (Ulinzi Stars)

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