NAIROBI, Kenya, October 9 – Harambee Stars head coach Bobby Williamson is worried about his blunt attack and the country’s inability to fashion a striker capable of replacing the aging record goal scorer, Dennis Oliech.
This comes after Gor Mahia youngster Timothy Otieno became the latest forward to be ruled out of next week’s international friendly against 2015 Nations Cup hosts Morocco in Marrakech.
Otieno, who was forced to pull out of camp at Kasarani Stadium due to illness, joins El-Merreikh striker Allan Wanga who is cup-tied and injured Tusker FC’s Jesse Were on the sidelines.
With Oliech yet to receive his call-up to the team despite training with the squad, Williamson urged the remaining forwards led by KRA’s Geoffrey Kataka to step up and fill the AC Ajaccio striker’s shoes. Oliech is credited with 34 goals in 63 games.
“Oliech is written off from Morocco friendly. He is just finding his fitness level so we are in the process of identifying someone who will fill his boots in case he is injured or he retires because he will not play football forever.
“We are lacking strength in the striking department because Wanga is committed with his club, Were picked a knock and now Otieno is ruled out. We are working hard to find a new Oliech and I hope these players who are here can impress and take over his position.
“We can’t be relying on one person to score for us we need to score from all departments from set pieces, defenders and midfielders but playing all that way one man show is very wrong,” The Scotsman declared.
The absence of the trio means Sofapaka’s Enoch Agwanda, Tusker’s Clifford Alwanga, West Sugar’s Nelson Simwa, Bandari’s Victor Ndinya and AFC Leopards’ Noah Wafula will battle for staring positions upfront with Williamson expected to trim his squad of 31 to 19 Friday.
“It will be hard to select players because they have all shown potential and nobody wants to be left behind but we don’t have any option since we are working with a limited number.
“Those who will not make it to the squad are not discarded we will be looking to forward to use them in future. We have a big squad we are still learning on each other,” the former Uganda Cranes and Gor tactician said.
-Foreign prayers boost-
However, the team was boosted by the arrival of captain and English Premier League side Southampton FC midfielder, Victor Wanyama with Belgian’s S.K Lierse winger Ayub Timbe and Norway’s Lillestrome first choice keeper Arnold Origi expected to link up with the rest in Morocco.
“The team is in good condition, I’ve seen there are a lot of talent and changes with youngsters so I think the team is ready.
“The new guys have worked hard and I believe they deserve the call-ups because they must have been playing well in the league so it’s up to them to show what they can bring to the national team,” Wanyama who arrived in the country Wednesday night expressed.
With Williamson making 13 changes from the squad that lost 1-0 to seven-times African champions Egypt in an international friendly in August, Wanyama called for consistency in the team to enable the players gel.
“Hopefully this is the beginning of building the team and I hope they don’t do a lot of changes. They should be able to put systems that will help our youth come through.
“With consistency, it can be easy for the young players to adapt and play the same way we (foreign based players) do.”
Commenting on Oliech’s absence in the team, the maestro midfielder said, “he (Oliech) is a good player and he still have a lot to give to the national team so he is still an important player, but the decision of selection lies with the coach, he has done great thing to our country.”
The team is expected to depart Friday evening for Morocco who are not participating in this weekend’s 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and will be using the build-up match as preparation for the continental showpiece.