NAIROBI, October 6- Norway based custodian, Arnold Origi, is alleging a calculated plot to edge him out of Harambee Stars as the reason behind his absence in Mauritius for Wednesday’s 2018 World Cup pre-qualifier against the hosts.
Origi, who has held on to the number one jersey whenever available for close to a decade, declined to link up the team Port Louis since he is yet to be refunded his ticket costs of Sh190,000 (USD 1,932.54) for honouring the 2017 AFCON qualifier against Zambia in Nairobi on September 7 where Kenya lost 2-1.
Speaking to Capital Sport, the Lillestrome custodian claims elements within Football Kenya Federation (FKF) are intent on frustrating him in a bid to force him out of the team.
Matters were exacerbated after he strongly criticised the poor performance against the Chipolopolo that saw Stars slip to third in their AFCON qualifying Group E besides plummeting by 15 places to position 131st in the latest FIFA Coca-Cola World Rankings.
“I think the major reason was that either the technical bench or the federation did not want me for this match. Maybe, they wanted to play Boniface Oluoch which is understandable because he has had a good season and has played really well and if he plays, then he plays because he deserves it and I have no problem with that.
“The national team is a place that you should be because of your performance or merit not name. I’ve had better performances for the national team than that of the Zambian match and if it’s because of the back of that they decided to drop me, then they should have just said it,” Origi famously known as Kenya One, explained.
He added, “I’m an honest person and was straight honest with myself, I was poor in that match. It is what it is. But they should have just said it straight instead of being cowards about it.
“Lying to me and not refunding my money then if I don’t come for the game they make it look like I was the one who refused to come for the match. All the foreign based players were refunded their ticket money some fully some partially but I never received a single cent and up to know they have just kept on feeding me lies.
“Victor Wanyama and Ayub Timbe were refunded half of the money they used to pay their tickets. It would have been a different case if they did the same to me,” the son of former Kenyan and Gor Mahia international, Austin Oduor, declared.
However, Origi said he will only be available if all his dues are paid thereby potentially ruling him out of Sunday’s return leg at Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium.
“If they want me, I’m always available to do duty for my country but they must show that by refunding my ticket money.”
-Nyamweya fires back-
FKF boss, Sam Nyamweya, fired back at the keeper accusing him of ulterior motives when Capital Sport sought his reaction to the claims.
“We have an email from Origi instructing us to refund the monies to his father. This is not proper procedure and in any case, we have been always open to discussion.
“If he has any problems with refunds, technical bench and any other matter in the team, then why hasn’t he spoken to me as president? Other foreign based players are in Mauritius and we have not cleared with them,” Nyamweya charged.
“Look, this is the national team and even if there has been problems, we have done our best to ensure players are compensated for tickets and allowances paid. I don’t know why it’s only him with a problem,” the federation boss emphasised.
Skipper Victor Wanyama who features for EPL side, Southampton and Belgian based winger Ayub Timbe, Azam FC forward, Allan Wanga, defenders Brian Mandela (South Africa) and David ‘Calabar; Owino (Zesco United-Zambia) were expected to link up with the squad on Tuesday.
Origi was upbeat Stars will overcome Mauritius both home and away to qualify for the next round where Cape Verde who featured for the 2015 AFCON tourney awaits.
“I think we will win because we are a much better side than Mauritius as a team and player to player. My absence will have no effect on the team since the guy that will be standing in goal in that game is the best goalkeeper in the KPL this season and a champion of Kenya.
“With 22 clean sheets he had this season just confirms the goalie that he is. I’m a huge admire of Bonny (Oluoch) and whatever he has achieved this season is no fluke. He has it in him and has always had it. He is a top keeper and too good for the KPL in my opinion,” Origi who is the cousin of Belgian and Liverpool FC forward, Divock, underscored.