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FKF hopeful Oliech will show for Malawi

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 28- Football Kenya Federation (FKF) is optimistic AJ Auxerre striker and captain Dennis Oliech will rescind his retirement decision and feature for the national team during the Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Malawi.

Speaking to Capital Sport on Monday, FKF Secretary General Omondi Adunda said indications were the country record scorer was likely to take up the armband during the 2014 Mundial qualifying opener against The Flames who arrive on Wednesday.

“The fact that Oliech is already in the country proves to us that he still has the national team top on his mind, it’s a sure sign that he still wants to be part of the line up.

“We understand the concerns of Kenyans and will continue to engage him in the view of seeing him make a comeback and boost our campaign to feature in the World Cup and the Africa Cup on Nations,” he added.

Oliech quit the national team last month over the use of his image in a team sponsor’s billboard leaving head coach Francis Kimanzi with a major headache in attack six days ahead of the kick-off at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.

With AFC Leopards striker, Allan Wanga injured and Sofapaka FC forward Bob Mugalia out of the team due to problems with his travel papers, the question of who will lead Stars’ forward line against The Flames is the biggest riddle facing the side.

Kimanzi has been compelled to recall Thika United striker Kepha Aswani barely 24 hours after he had dropped him along other six Kenyan Premier League (KPL) players to make space for the foreign based contingent.

Aswani, who has netted 10 goals in the domestic league this season, has no proven international pedigree having been called-up then axed from the final squad last year.

Slovakia based Patrick Oboya who has not featured in the side since 2008 earned a recall to the team and is the only recognizable forward in the side that once again finds itself mired in ill-preparations for a crucial game.

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With influential midfielder, AC Parma’s McDonald Mariga out injured and keeper Arnold Origi also missing from the side, Kimanzi will face Malawi without the spine of recent squads and the head coach must find new people to step up to the plate.

Over the weekend the tactician dropped Aswani, Mugalia, Leopards striker Victor Ochieng, teammate Bernard Mang’oli, Peter Opiyo of Tusker and Gor Mahia’s Rama Salim.

Celtic’s Victor Wanyama and Oboya of MFK Ruzemberok have already joined the camp with DR Congo based Titus Mulama of club FC Saint Eloi Lupopo and Patrick Osiako of Petrolul Ploiesti of Romania likely to report to camp within the week.

The Malawi Flames who were held to a barren draw by Taifa Stars in an international friendly match on Saturday where Kimanzi was in attendance are expected to arrive on Wednesday evening.

The match officials for the Saturday tie are also expected to arrive on the same day led by referee Eric Otongo Castane, his assistants Theophile Vinga and Sylvian Mouala and fourth official Yves Mbourou all from Gabon.

Match Commissioner Abbasi Ssendyowa from Uganda and referee inspector Hassan Souleiman will also be in the entourage.

After the weekend fixture, Stars will travel to Namibia for their second qualifier on June 9 with Origi expected to make his long awaited return. Namibia was also held to a goalless draw by Mozambique in a friendly tie over the weekend.

A week later Kenya will take a 2-1 advantage away to Lome for their second leg June 15 tie against Togo in a 2013 Africa Nations Cup knock-out qualifier.

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