NAIROBI, October 2 – Gor Mahia defender, Harun Shakava, Nakuru All Stars winger, John Ndirangu and Chemelil Sugar midfielder, Stephen Wakhanya are the latest inclusions in the Harambee Stars squad preparing to face Mauritius in their 2018 World Cup pre-qualifier.
Local based players reported to residential training on Friday with head coach, Bobby Williamson, conducting his first session at Kasarani Stadium.
The trio replace some of the senior players dropped on disciplinary grounds with Ndirangu, who earned his maiden call up in August last year, filling the void left by wingers Greece based Paul Were and Tusker FC’s Danson Kago.
Shakava who was axed from the team that lost 2-1 to Zambia in the 2017 Nations Cup qualifiers, comes on for Malaysian based defender, Lawrence Olum whilst Wakhanya is eyeing Humphrey Mieno’s position in midfield.
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) was forced to move the team’s camp from Nairobi West to their traditional Kasarani Moi Complex after claims of sexual impropriety at Stars hotel involving at least three players with other culprits accused of going out late into the night in breach of team rules.
Kenya will host the return-leg at Kasarani which will be hosting an international match for the first time in two years when they beat Namibia 1-0 during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Williamson, who is yet to win a competitive match since succeeding Belgian Adel Amrouche, has now a squad 23 players who will be tasked to open their road to Russia on a high for them to increase their chances of qualifying for the World Cup group draw.
Nine foreign based players led by skipper, Victor Wanyama will link up with the team in Mauritius ahead of the first-leg scheduled for Wednesday.
“We are organising for the foreign based players to connect directly to Mauritius because there is no time for them to join the team in Nairobi,” FKF Media Officer, John Kariuki told Capital Sport.
All local based players are in camp apart from Ndirangu and Mathare United midfielder, Eric Johana whose clubs are involved in Friday’s SportPesa Premier League fixture where Mathare host All Stars before Tusker FC entertains Muhoroni Youth at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium.