NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 30- Former Ulinzi Stars hitman Stephen Waruru was the big casualty as new Harambee Stars boss Paul Put named his squad for the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup which kicks off on Sunday, with Stars opening their campaign against Rwanda in Kakamega.
The forward hit 13 goals in the just concluded season to finish third in the top scorers’ race but despite his scoring prowess has been overlooked by Put with Sony Sugar’s Benjamin Mosha and Zoo Kericho’s Nicholas Kipkurui also failing to make the cut.
Also dropped from the initial squad that was named into camp is Nzoia Sugar midfielder Lawrence Juma while Ulinzi’s Omar Mbongi and Gor Mahia’s Kenneth Muguna are ruled out with sickness and injury respectively.
In his 23-man squad, Put has included several rookies who will don the white, red and black of the national team in a competitive environment for the first time.
Defenders Bernard Ochieng (Vihiga United), Charles Momanyi (Kakamega Homeboyz), and Isaac Kipyegon (Zoo Kericho) as well as Thika United midfield spoiler Said Tsuma have all earned places in the Belgian’s maiden squad.
The forward line will be led by Kenyan premier league golden boot winner Massoud Juma who struck 17 times in the league and he will hope to reciprocate the same form for the national team and prove his doubters wrong.
Also included alongside him is Nakumatt’s Kepha Aswani and AFC Leopards youngster Vincent Oburu who has been a revelation in the six months he has played at the den.
The defense will be marshaled by the experienced feet of title winning Gor Mahia captain Musa Mohammed and his Posta Rangers counterpart Jockins Atudo.
Harambee Stars’ CECAFA Squad:
Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers), Gabriel Andika (AFC Leopards).
Defenders: Musa Mohammed, Wellington Ochieng (Gor Mahia), Jockins Atudo (Posta Rangers), Dennis Sikhayi (AFC Leopards), Charles Momanyi (Kakamega Homeboyz), Bernard Ochieng (Vihiga United), Isaac Kipyegon (Zoo Kericho), Wesley Onguso (Sofapaka).
Midfielders: Duncan Otieno, Whyvonne Isuza (AFC Leopards), Ernest Wendo (Gor Mahia), Chris Ochieng (Mathare United), Ovellah Ochieng, Patillah Omotto (Kariobangi Sharks), Said Tsuma (Thika United), Samuel Onyango (Ulinzi Stars).
Strikers: Kepha Aswani (Nakumatt) Massoud Juma (Kariobangi Sharks), George Odhiambo (Gor Mahia), Vincent Oburu (AFC Leopards).