Midfielder, Jamal Mohammed and winger Paul Were are left out of the team that went down 1-0 to Sudan in a result that saw Stars exit the tournament at the group stage for the second successive year.
Also, since coming to the tournament, the Kenyans seemed unmotivated, murmurs indicating that Football Kenya Federation (FKF) had not paid player wages since they assembled in Nairobi preparing for the Challenge Cup.
The FKF chief executive officer, Lordvick Aduda, was in Dar-es-Salaam during the early stages in the tournament before leaving for Nairobi, promising that he would return with money for the players.
The FKF official left behind with the team, vice-chairman Sammy Shollei, is known to have made several frantic calls to Nairobi, reminding the aficionado there for the need to live with their promise or else morale among coach Francis Kimanzi’s team would continue to plummet.
It was the second time for Mohammed to be accused of indiscipline. In their last match 2012 Africa Nations Cup qualifier against Uganda in Kampala, Kimanzi’s predecessor, Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno also sidelined the player who plays in Romania from his starting 11.
The decision irked the midfielder who went on to vent in the team’s dressing room and on return to the country, Otieno axed him from the team only for Kimanzi to re-instate him upon his appointment.
Koko got Sudan’s all important goal in the middle of the first half in a match where the Kenyans put an insipid display that irked the coach.
After the match, a fuming Kimanzi told SuperSport.com that, “It defeats reason to come to such a competition with the best players and yet at the end of the day they fail to deliver. In all the departments we had players who have been nominated as the best in the season.
“I came with the best striker in the country who finished with 12 goals in the KPL and after three games if the same striker cannot score even one goal then what do we expect?”
With the 2013 Nations Cup knock-out between Stars and Togo in the horizon, Kimanzi has little time to reconstruct a team capable of competing if hopes of making South Africa are to be harboured.
It seems he has no choice than to look at players who ply their trade outside the country since the much vaunted KPL stars proved to be lame ducks when faced with the challenge in yet another indictment of the domestic top tier club competition.
Without Kenya, the tournament continues Monday with Rwanda taking on Zanzibar in the first quarters before Burundi, the surprise package of the tournament, host Sudan.
On Tuesday, Malawi face hosts Tanzania who will be keen on hitting the right notes after squeezing to the quarters as the best losers with Zimbabwe taking on Uganda.