NAIROBI, September 28 – Harambee Stars head coach, Bobby Williamson cracked the whip and axed five players for indiscipline in his provisional squad of 19 for October’s 2018 World Cup preliminary qualifier against Mauritius.
Record goal scorer and former captain, Dennis Oliech, winger Paul Were who plies his trade at Greece’s Kalloni FC, Malaysia-based defender, Lawrence Olum as well as Tusker FC trio of Jesse Were, Danson Kago and Humphrey Mieno were dropped on disciplinary grounds.
Although none of the players was formally charged or indicted of any wrong doing, Stars camp was thrown into disarray on the eve of the 2-1 loss to Zambia in last month’s AFCON qualifier when lurid claims surfaced of sexual impropriety at the team hotel involving at least three players with other culprits accused of going out late into the night in breach of team rules.
Surprisingly missing on the list is Gor Mahia defensive midfielder, Collins Okoth who started in their defeat to Chipolopolo and is not believed to have been involved in any misbehaviour.
Also not considered for Mauritius is veteran midfielder, MacDonald Mariga who like Oliech, was recalled for the AFCON game but never made the final squad.
Williamson and his team were bitterly slammed for the Zambia loss that saw Kenya slide from top to third in their AFCON qualifying group to leave them with a mountain to climb to make the Gabon finals.
Bandari FC left-back, Abdul Latif Omar will be making a comeback to the national team since 2013 when he was named for the COSAFA tournament while Peter Nzuki who features for Football Kenya Federation-Premier League side Nakumatt FC and Ulinzi Stars midfielder, Kevin Amwayi are new inclusions.
Williamson has kept faith majority of the players who were involved in the Chipolopolo match led by skipper and Southampton FC midfielder, Victor Wanyama who is among nine foreign based players named.
Norway’s Lillestrome custodian, Arnold Origi, winger Ayub Timbe and midfielder, Johanna Omolo who play in Belgium, South Africa’s Maritzburg United defender, Brian Mandela and Zambia’s Zesco United center-back, David ‘Calabar’ Owino were retained.
Stars who are yet to register a win in the 2017 Gabon AFCON qualifiers after playing two rounds, will be seeking to start their road to Russia World Cup on a high when they travel to Mauritius on the weekend of October 7.
The aggregate winner of the two-legged tie will then face Cape Verde for another qualifier before progressing to the group draw.
Belgian Adel Amrouche took the bold step of stripping off the armband axing Oliech from the national team in 2013 over indiscipline to bring what was seen as an inglorious end for one of Kenya’s finest servants.
However, Williamson took the gamble of returning him for the Zambia game to tap into his immense experience and played him for 70 minutes against Zambia.
But the former skipper was adversely mentioned in claims of breaking team curfew rules and it appears curtains have come down for good in a blaze of shame on his otherwise distinguished international career.
The omission of SportPesa Premier League top scorer and Tusker’s Were for indiscipline is another blow to his blossoming career after he was left on the bench during the Chipolopolo game altogether coming hot on the heels of his collapsed move to South African side, Bidvest Wits.
His namesake and former AFC Leopards winger, Were, lasted for only 27 minutes against Zambia before being substituted injured after failing to replicate his heroics in Kenya’s opening 1-1 draw away to Congo Brazzaville.
Kago who was picked by police from the team’s camp to answer to domestic abuse charges against his live-in partner and his Tusker teammate Mieno were further alleged to have been involved in the night of shame at the team’s hotel and were unused in the Zambia game.
Goalkeepers: Arnold Origi (Lillestrom, NOR), Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia, KEN)
Defenders: David Owino (Zesco Utd, ZAM), David Ochieng’ (Unattached), Dennis Odhiambo (Thika Utd, KEN), Brian Mandela (Maritzburg Utd, RSA), Edwin Wafula (AFC Leopards, KEN), Abdul Latif Omar (Bandari FC, KEN)
Midfielders: Bernard Mang’oli (AFC Leopards, KEN), Peter Nzuki (Nakumatt, KEN), Kevin Amwayi (Ulinzi Stars, KEN), Johanna Eric (Mathare Utd, KEN), Teddy Akumu (Al Khartoum, SUD), Johanna Omolo (Royal Antwerp, BEL), Victor Wanyama (Southampton, ENG), Ayub Timbe (SK Lierse, BEL)
Strikers: Michael Olunga (Gor Mahia, KEN), Allan Wanga (Azam FC, TZ), Jacob Kelli (Nkana Red Devils, ZAM).
APOLOGY: In the earlier edited post, Humphrey Mieno was erroneously referred as the Tusker FC player who was involved in a case with the Anti-Terror Police Unit. It was his teammate Osbourne Monday instead. We take this earliest opportunity to apologise for the mistake and the two men.