NAIROBI, Kenya, October 31 – Foreign based players in national football team Harambee Stars are expected to join the squad that is preparing to face Seychelles in a 2014 World Cup pre-qualifier from Tuesday week.
Assistant head coach, Leonard Hales said Monday that the players who include French Ligue 1 AJ Auxerre forward and captain, Dennis Oliech, would start arriving in the country a day previous.
For the third successful week, head coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno had to contend with a incomplete squad with only 16 out of the 24 locally based players called-up for the two knock-out fixtures showed up when training resumed on Monday.
“The camp is not full yet and we hope that next week, we shall have a full house with players from overseas arriving from Monday. We also expect to have players from (Kenyan Premier League sides) Ulinzi, Sofapaka, Gor Mahia and AFC training together,” Saleh said.
The technical bench embarked on training with the assurance from newly elected Kenyan football boss, Sam Nyamweya and his National Executive Committee (NEC) that they would be in charge for the two legs against the Seychellois that will determine the country’s fate in the running for the Brazil Mundial.
“We are not going to make any changes to the technical bench at the moment and they have been doing a good job so far. Seychelles is too soon for us to think of hiring or firing the coaches and they have a chance to prove they can lift our country from the low 135 position we find ourselves in,” Nyamweya pledged upon his election on Saturday.
The technical bench also took the opportunity to extend their best wishes to the new football governing team.
“Kenyans hope they have the ability to turn the fortune for our football that has lost several generations of talent due to the wrangles but we are now optimistic this will come to pass as we start a fresh future,” Saleh offered.
“For the sake of the football I urge all Kenyans and all those who were not elected to unite and support the new office so as to help them prepare the Stars,” he added.
Aggregate victory over the Islanders will see Kenya join the 2014 World Cup Africa qualifying group that has Nigeria, Malawi as well as the winner of another pre-qualifier featuring Djibouti and Namibia.
The first match will be played in Seychelles on November 12 with the return fixture three days later in Nairobi.
On Sunday, the Kenyans were drawn against Togo in a two-legged knock-out tie that will be played in January for the right to feature in the 2013 Africa Nations Cup in South Africa.
Stars missed out in the race to qualify for the 2012 Africa Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in Group J after finishing third behind eventual pool victors Angola and neighbours Uganda.
– By Gloria Kendi