NAIROBI, Kenya, May 31- South Africa SuperSport United striker, Atusaye Nyondo picked up an ankle injury in training to present Malawi coach Kinnah Phiri fresh headache before Saturday’s Nations Cup qualifier against Harambee Stars.
Nyando had to be to be stretchered off from the Co-operative College Training Grounds in Nairobi as Phiri, who brought only 20 players to Kenya for the match faced the prospect of missing yet another key player for his team.
Nyondo has scored six times in 13 appearances for SuperSport whom he joined last year.
The injury scare prompted The Flames boss to lambast the training facilities his team was offered by hosts Football Kenya Federation (FKF) ahead of the Group F opener that will be contested at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
“This ground is not conducive to conduct proper training with its tall grass and uneven surface; we actually had our striker limp off the field after he tripped into one of the holes
“We came with a squad of 20 since the rest are still recuperating after taking part in their gruelling league matches and will have to wait the decision from the team doctor on his fate,” Phiri complained.
He went on to accuse FKF of lacking proper preparation and co-ordination for the visitors since their arrival on Wednesday.
“The boys are somehow upset since we had to wait for long before we could get the correct information concerning our preparation grounds facilitation
“We feel that Kenya and Malawi have always had a proper relationship and it’s not fair for them to play mind games, those should maybe arise when you are facing teams from the West or North but not your immediate neighbours,” Phiri charged.
Besides been satisfied with the hosts’ security arrangements that includes Police escort during their travels, Phiri said he could not understand why the officials they were in contact with could not speak in one voice.
“I don’t know whether your federation has a parallel set of groups running it since one person comes and talks to us then disappears before another comes and pretends to be in charge of our plans, before leaving and resorting to phone calls that were not bearing fruit,” he stressed.
FKF Technical Director Patrick Naggi who arrived at the venue minutes before The Flames absolved the federation from blame citing the heightened state of security mounted in the country following a spate of terrorist attacks from outlawed Somali group Al Shabaab.
“We admit there are certain logistical challenges which I attribute to the security concerns from the Government after the recent attacks in the City.
“We were instructed by authorities to shift our visitors’ camp to the Karen surroundings after their arrival to guarantee their safety which made it difficult to get suitable training venue in time,” Naggi told.
Malawi consequently moved to the nearby Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Karen Campus for their afternoon training session before getting the feel of the match venue on Friday afternoon.
After the weekend tie, Malawi will face Nigeria in their next World Cup qualifier before hosting Chad for their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations return leg qualifier as Kenya travel to play Namibia and Togo away in their respective qualifiers.