NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 15 – Twelve Harambee Stars players have so far reported to camp at Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani in readiness for the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) Senior Challenge Cup.
Stars team manager Peter Serry told Capital Sport that eight Tanzania-based players were absent as they were representing their clubs, which includes Kenya’s Tusker FC, in the Tusker Cup that started on Monday and will run up to December 27.
“These clubs use the Tusker Cup to prepare for next season that’s why they have not released the players,” said Mr Serry on Monday.
Stars players who are involved in the tournament include Jockins Atundo, Joseph Kamau and Chris Liswa (Tusker), Joseph Shikokoti, John Mwangi, George Owino, Boniface Ambani and Mike Baraza (Young Africans).
Mercurial striker Patrick Oboya and midfielder Victor Mugabe who are based in Czechoslovakia and Belgium respectively are yet to confirm their availability for the challenge cup which starts in Uganda on December 30 up to January 13.
“Both players haven’t communicated to us and we hope to get word from them by this evening (Monday),” said Serry.
The players at Kasarani held their first training session on Monday morning under Francis Kimanzi who last week was reinstated as coach on a one year contract.
“Having a small group of players to work with is actually a good thing because it gives the coach time to work on each of their individual strengths so that when the rest come, the coach already has a core side,” said Serry.
“Everyone in camp is upbeat and prepared for the challenge that lies ahead,” he added.
Kenya who reached the quarter finals of the cup last year are in Group B alongside defending champions Sudan, Eritrea, Burundi and Djibouti.
The team is scheduled to play only one warm up match against Yemen on December 28.
Noah Ayuko, Duncan Ochieng (Goalkeepers), Joseph Embenzi, Lloyd Wahome, Edgar Odhiambo, Anthony Wanjohi, John Mwangi, Jockins Atundo, George Owino, James Ndeto, Christopher Liswa (Defenders), Kevin Ochieng, Mondays Osborne, Augustin Makacha, Ali Breki, Joseph Kamau, Victor Mugabe, Edward Kauka, Andrew Oyombe, Abdi Simba (Midfielders), Francis Ouma, Francis Ochieng, Patrick Oboya, Boniface Ambani, Mike Baraza (Strikers)