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Five debutantes in Stars as Oliech is snubbed

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Former captain and record scorer, Dennis Oliech (left) in action against Eritrea. There's no space for him in the current squad.
Former captain and record scorer, Dennis Oliech (left) in action against Eritrea. There’s no space for him in the current squad.

NAIROBI, May 31- Harambee Stars head coach Bobby Williamson has left out Kenyan record scorer Dennis Oliech in his 32-man provisional squad for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations named on Sunday.

The squad that is dominated by champions Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards players, will be skippered by EPL side Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama who is among eight foreign based players.

There is no place for his elder brother, MacDonald Mariga in the team despite the veteran midfielder enjoying a lot of game time for his relegated and bankrupt Serie A side, Parma AC under Italian legend, Roberto Donadoni.

The Scotsman has handed Posta Rangers keeper, Ian Otieno, midfielders Peter Nzuki (Nakumatt FC), Steven Wakhanya (Chemelil Sugar), Mark John Makwata (Ulinzi Stars) and Eric Johana (Mathare United) their debuts to the national senior team that will be preparing ahead of their June 13 2017 AFCON opener away to Congo Brazzaville.

Oliech is yet to earn his first call up under Williamson since featuring in the team last August when Stars were bundled out of the 2015 AFCON qualifiers in the pre-qualifiers by minnows Lesotho.

The former captain who terminated his contract with French Ligue 1 side AC Ajaccio in February to join UAE Arabian Gulf League side Al-Nasr, was axed by his predecessor Adel Amrouche in the first leg away to Lesotho in the last Afcon qualifiers, only for the federation to intervene and force the Belgian tactician include him for the return leg squad.

Only time will tell if Williamson will call up Oliech, a month after saying he didn’t rule him out of his 2017 AFCON plans.

Shot-stoppers, Gor’s Boniface Oluoch and his counterpart from Leopards, Wycliffe Kasaya make a return to the team whilst K’Ogalo’s Jerim Onyango and Bandari’s Wilson Obungu were left out.

Other notable who left out are Oman’s Al-Nasr midfielder Jamal Mohammed, Belgian based midfielder Johanna Omolo who plies his trade at Lommel United and Bandari midfielder David Gateri.

Kenya who will also face 2012 champions Zambia and Guinea Bissau in Group B will be seeking to make a comeback to the continental showpiece in Gabon for the first time in more than a decade.

SQUAD

Goalkeepers-Arnold Origi(Lillestrom,Norway), Bonface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Ian Otieno (Posta Rangers), Wycliffe Kasaya (AFC Leopards).

Defenders: David Owino (Zambia), Haroun Shakava, Musa Mohammed (Gor Mahia), Edwin Wafula, Jackson Saleh (AFC Leopards), David Cheche Ochieng (Saudi Arabia), Robinson Kamura (Mathare United)

Midfielders-Victor Wanyama (Southampton), Collins Okoth (Gor Mahia), Humphrey Mieno (Tusker), Ayub Timbe, Bernard Mangoli (AFC Leopards), Peter Nzuki (Nakumatt), Steve Wakhanya (Chemelil Sugar), Francis Kahata, Anthony Akumu (Sudan), Kevin Kimani (Tusker), Ali Abondo (Gor Mahia), Mark Makwata(Ulinzi Stars )

Strikers: Jesse Were (Tusker), Paul Were (South Africa), Michael Olunga (Gor Mahia), Jacob Keli(AFC Leopards), Allan Wanga (El Mereikh Sudan), Eric Johanna (Mathare United), Noah Wafula(AFC Leopards).

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