NAIROBI, September 1 – Kenya’s record scorer, Dennis Oliech and Belgian based midfielder, Johanna Omolo linked up with Harambee Stars ahead of their home tie against 2012 AFCON champions, Zambia, on Sunday.
Oliech, who is yet to play for head coach, Bobby Williamson will fight for a starting berth with domestic top flight stars champions Gor Mahia’s Michael Olunga and leading scorer Jesse Were of Tusker FC.
Williamson who held his first training session for the second Group E 2017 AFCON qualifier on Tuesday is yet to assemble his full team but is optimistic other foreign based players led by Southampton midfielder and skipper, Victor Wanyama will join the rest by Thursday.
The Scotsman urged Oliech, who is now in the books of Saudi Arabia’s Al Nasser, will uphold discipline and inspire the team to take charge of the group by beating the Chipolopolo.
His predecessor, Adel Amrouche, stripped the armband from the long-serving striker and kicked him out of Stars altogether in 2013 after falling foul with his ill-discipline.
“I don’t have any issue with Oliech; people say that he never stays in camp and he is in clubs drinking but that’s not true because I cannot judge him. He is a professional and I hope the team will maintain decorum and do their country proud on Sunday.
“I hope he (Oliech) will influence to the team and I will be happy to see him using his experience to inspire the young players,” the former, Uganda Cranes tactician stated.
With their opponents having started preparation for the match two months ago, Williamson is not a worried man clinging to belief his boys will rise to occasion.
“We are expecting to have a full house by Thursday. There are many young players who are gaining experience and hopefully they will blend with seasoned players and make to the first XI.
“Zambia has advantage by going early in camp. It’s very sad despite having a huge chunk of local based players that could have seen us start camp a month ago, we could not access them but I’m banking on our fans and the desire of players to get us a favourable result,” Williamson underlined.
“Every game is difficult and teams are more organised defensively but we have capable strikers like Olunga, Were and Jacob Keli who can do the job. Against Zambia we will try and balance all positions.
KF Tirana winger, Francis Kahata, Malaysian based defender; Lawrence Olum and David Ochieng are among the foreign based players.
Ayub Timbe who plies his trade in Belgian, Zesco’s David ‘Calabar’ Owino and Norway’s Lillestromme first choice Keeper Arnold Origi are expected to arrive on Thursday.
Stars’ Group E is open after Kenya drew 1-1 away to Congo Brazzaville while the Chipolopolo were held at home to a barren stalemate by minnows Guinea Bissau.
A win for Stars will put them in charge of the group in their bid to qualify for the Gabon finals for the first time since 2004.