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Wanyama ruled out of Stars’ friendly matches

Harambee Stars captain and Southampton FC midfielder during training at Nairobi's Nyayo National Stadium. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.
Harambee Stars captain and Southampton FC midfielder during training at Nairobi’s Nyayo National Stadium. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya.

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 27 – Harambee Stars skipper Victor Wanyama will not take part in Kenya’s two friendly matches against Tanzania on Sunday and Sudan on Tuesday due to a knock, head coach Stanley Okumbi confirmed.

However, the Southampton FC midfielder will be part of Kenya’s 2017 African Nations Cup (AFCON) qualifier against Congo on June 5.

Belgium based midfielder Johannah Omollo will also miss the friendlies as well, and is uncertain for the AFCON qualifier against the Congolese.

Okumbi is expected to field a strong squad against Tanzania, a match that will be a FIFA recognised friendly with the results impacting heavily on Kenya’s rankings.

The Sudan match will be a reserve of emerging players who Okumbi wants to have a keener look at for future inclusion in his first team.

“These are two very important matches for us and we have been preparing well for them. It is important to build a team for the future as well as build cohesion ahead of the match against Congo,” Okumbi said.

The tactician says he has been able to scout a stronger team compared to his first two matches in charge against Guinea Bissau where he lost out 1-0 in both legs.

“At that time, there were few league matches played so it wasn’t possible to move round and pick the best team possible. At the moment, we have had a longer period to scout because of more matches also in the lower division and so I am positive we have a strong team,” Okumbi noted.

The team was boosted with the arrival of Belgian based winger Ayub Timbe who joined other foreign based stars who had started training with the team earlier in the week.

Ali Abondo, who recently completed a move to South African top tier side Ajax Cape Town, was also part of the squad in training and says he is delighted having been recalled to the team.

“It is a privilege being back into the national team and this time that I am coming in as a foreign based player, I really have to work hard and prove my credentials. These two friendly matches are going to be important for us as a team because we are building up,” the soft-spoken Abondo affirmed.

Meanwhile, the Tanzanian and Sudanese national teams arrived Friday morning ahead of the two matches.

Ugandan referees will take charge of the match.