NAIROBI, Kenya, November 9- Harambee Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi unveiled his final travelling squad of 20 players for the first 2014 World Cup pre-qualifier against Seychelles on Thursday evening.
With Real Sociedad midfielder, MacDonald Mariga and AFC Leopards striker in the casualty list for the first tie in Victoria on Friday, Kimanzi dropped new call-up Clifton Miheso (Thika United), unattached Jerry Santos in midfield and custodian Jackton Odhiambo (Ulinzi Stars) from the team to face the Islanders.
“We have done good preparations and the match and the response I have received from the players in training is very encouraging. They are professionals and they know what is required of them so the pressure is on them to perform,” the head coach said before releasing his team.
He added: “But I’m sure they will return with a positive result from Seychelles to take to the second leg at home on Tuesday. I’m not worried that our players are not used to playing such games with high stakes within such a short time.”
Kimanzi admitted the first squad since appointment last week was largely geared towards navigating Kenya past the Islanders and proper reconstruction of the team would commence once qualification to the group stages of the 2014 World Cup Africa qualifiers had been secured.
“To be honest, very little could have been done with the time we had before this match and Kenya does not belong to playing in pre-qualifiers. Our mission will be to take the country back to where it belongs and that is challenging for major tournaments,” he charged.
Team captain, Dennis Oliech rallied his team mates to give their nation the lift it needs after missing out on the 2012 Africa Nations Cup party when they finished third in their group.
“We need to make our supporters feel good again by going to Seychelles and getting the result that will inspire our fans to turn out in large numbers when we play the return leg and hopefully, the qualifiers,” the French Ligue 1 marksman with AJ Auxerre remarked.
Kimanzi who was restored to the position after being axed in February 2009 last week and his squad received ringing endorsement from the new Football Kenya Association (FKA) whose top officials led by their chairman, Sam Nyamweya hosted them to a luncheon.
“We are certain that your work will be only to go out there and bring victory since all the troubles the team had in the past are now over. This administration will ensure that such things as lack of allowances, training kit and bonuses are forgotten,” Nyamweya addressed the squad.
“We brought Kimanzi, who is the most qualified coach in the country in so that we can start building the future,” he added as he called over team captain, Dennis Oliech who plies his trade in French Ligue 1 with Auxerre and Mariga.
“These two are the fathers of the team and I want both to show the young players and those who play in the country the example. In case of any problem with the team, then the two should be told, consult and put it to management.”
The chair was trying to quell the rumoured unease among the two foremost members of the current Stars set-up whose alleged differences have split the team in the past.
Nyamweya went on to disclose Nairobi’s Red Court Hotel would be the official residence for the team with allowances for both home and away matches against Seychelles being paid out on Thursday.
The team leaves Thursday morning to Seychelles.
PROVINCIAL LIST OF HARAMBEE STARS TO SEYCHELLS
1. Arnold Otieno (FK Moss, Norway)
2. Duncan Ochieng (Sofapaka, Kenya)
3. Mulinge Ndeto (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya)
4. Brian Mandela (Tusker, Kenya)
5. James Situma (FK Tirana, Albania)
6. Pascal Ochieng(Rangers, Kenya)
7. Jockins Atudo (Tusker, Kenya)
8. Eric Masika (Gor Mahia, Kenya)
9. Dennis Odhiambo (Pretoria University, SA)
10. Victor Mugubi (Celtic, Scotland)
11. Crispin Olando (Tusker, Kenya)
12. Titus Mulama (Sofapaka, Kenya)
13. Collins Okoth (Gor Mahia, Kenya
14. Humphrey Ochieng (Sofapaka, Kenya)
15. Stephen Waruru (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya)
16. Jamal Mohammed (FCM Targu Mures, Romania)
17. Bob Mugalia (Sofapaka, Kenya)
18. Dennis Oliech (AJ Auxerre, Kenya)
19. Paul Were (Tusker, Kenya)
20. Kevin Kimani (Mathare United, Kenya)
1. Francis Kimanzi – Headcoach
2. Edward Oduor – Team manager