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Mariga out of Bafana friendly- FKF

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NAIROBI, Kenya, October 4- Inter Milan midfielder, McDonald Mariga is out of the Harambee Stars friendly against South Africa on October 16, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) confirmed Thursday.

Federation secretary general, Lordvick Aduda, told Capital Sport that Mariga who was among nine foreign based players drafted to the squad by head coach, Henri Michel, is yet to recover fully from the knee injury that sidelined him from the Africa Nations Cup and opening two World Cup qualifiers in June.

“We have received communication from him that he is still sick and we cannot have him for South Africa. Captain Dennis Oliech has however, confirmed to us he will be available as we await others to tell us whether they will feature,” Aduda said of the player who last featured for Kenya against Uganda in the last qualifier for this year’s Nations Cup on October 8 last year.

Norway based keeper Arnold Origi, Christian Bwammy, Ayub Timbe, Patrick Oboya, Brain Mandela and Jerry Santos are the other foreign based players invited for the Bafana tie.

Aduda added the match and another high profile friendly in the pipeline for the November 14 Fifa window will be used to improve the country’s world rankings that slid three places down to 128 in the latest standings released by the world governing body.

“Those rankings are as a result of the fact that we have missed to play in Fifa recognised friendlies since we played our last match way back in June against Togo.

“We are looking forward to improve on our rankings before we face Botswana in CHAN by playing during the Fifa window, first against South Africa and we are in the process of planning another quality friendly,” Aduda disclosed.

He explained that the hiring of Michel was one of the federation’s key steps of reversing the slide in the world rankings after Kenya crashed out of the 2013 Nations Cup knock-out qualifiers coupled with a poor start to the 2014 World Cup bid.

Stars have a solitary point from their opening two fixtures against Malawi and Nambia with Nigeria coming up next in March next year.

“Kenyans will get an opportunity to see what Michel is all about since the team belongs to them. Everybody is concerned but we have not seen the team play under his tutelage and therefore, we cannot gauge him now,” the FKF CEO emphasised.

Michel is training his first Stars squad made up of 28 local players at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in readiness for the match against Bafana at Nyayo National Stadium.

“On the advice of the coach, we decided to send out invitations to international players to strengthen the team and make it more competitive against the opposition of South Africa’s quality.

“That is the same thing we shall do for the next match and we have given the coach the latitude to select to domesticate and come up with his own team which he has done,” Aduda noted.

Meanwhile, Cecafa has petitioned continental body CAF to consider changing the dates of the Africa Home Nations Championships (CHAN) that were conflicting with the Senior Challenge Cup that will run from end November to early December.

Communication from FKF say that Cecafa has proposed the first leg scheduled for December 1 to be deferred to the weekend of December 14 to 16 to avoid a clash with the regional tourney that places the participation of Kenya, Burundi, Eritea and Ethiopia in the Challenge Cup in doubt.

“As a federation we have not yet received the request from the Cecafa secretariat or Burundi and it’s not the onus of our opponents Burundi to agree on any date without consulting us.

“It has to be noted that any proposed new dates must be agreed by both parties and the same communicated to CAF who are the organizers of the CHAN tournament,” a statement from the federation’s media office read in part.

The conflicting dates led to a bitter exchange of words between FKF president, Sam Nyamweya and Cecafa general secretary, Nicholas Musonye.

It culminated with the Kenyan federation petitioning the regional body’s chairman, Leodegar Tenga, of their intention to have Musonye removed from his position at next month’s Cecafa Congress over his perceived disregard of FKF.

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