The side that features six players from domestic champions Tusker FC will be whittled down to 18 when head coach, Francis Kimanzi, announces the final squad before the team plays their next 2014 World Cup and 2013 Nations Cup qualifiers next month.
Patrick Matasi, who features for Kenyan Premier League (KPL) leaders AFC Leopards, will replace Ochieng in the side with Aswani, who has netted seven goals so far for his side making his comeback in the contingent of 22 local players named by assistant coach, Yusuf Chippo.
Football Kenya Limited vice-chairman, Sammy Sholei, said the players named were selected owing to their team’s performances in the KPL season that enters its 12th round this weekend.
“We have chosen them from the top six teams in the league and we have talked to their clubs to release them to the national team in good time to avoid conflict,” he added.
With Kimanzi away to a CAF course in Egypt, Chippo called for a code of conduct to be enforced for players featuring in the national team to improve on their commitment.
“We are seeking ways to make our players concentrate on the national team and have them wear the national colours with pride,” Chippo stressed in reference to the latest saga involving team captain, Denis Oliech, who has expressed his desire to quit the side over the use of his image by the team’s sponsors East Africa Breweries.
The named squad will converge at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Sunday and will be training until Thursday when they are released to their clubs.
Kenya will welcome Malawi on June 2 in Nairobi for their Africa Group F 2014 World Cup qualifier before travelling to Togo in the return-leg of the 2013 Africa Cup on June 15 in Lome where they are taking a 2-1 advantage from their February 29 clash.
Leopards, Sofapaka, Gor Mahia, and Thika have three players in the squad while, Rangers, Ulinzi Stars and Mathare United have a player each with Kevin Kimani, last year’s KPL Player of the Year, the only un-attached player in the squad.
Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch(Tusker) and Patrick Matasi(AFC Leopards)
Defenders: James Situma (Sofapaka), Mulinge Ndetto (Ulinzi), Pascal Ochieng (Rangers), Brian Mandela, Jockins Atudo, Joseph Shikokoti (Tusker) and Dennis Odhiambo (Thika United)
Midfielders: Humphrey Mieno(Sofapaka), Kevin Ochieng(Gor Mahia), Collins Okoth(Gor Mahia), Jamal Mohammed(Mathare United), Kepha Aswani (Thika United), Peter Opiyo (Tusker), Paul Were(Tusker), Ramadhan Salim(Gor Mahia), Bernard Mangoli (AFC Leopards), Clifton Miheso (Thika United) and Kevin Kimani.
Strikers: Allan Wanga (AFC Leopards) and Bob Mugalia (Sofapaka)