NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 22 – Zesco FC striker Jesse Were has made a comeback to the national football team Harambee Stars after new head coach Francis Kimanzi named the Zambia based forward in his 28-man provisional squad to do duty for the country in the upcoming friendly and international assignments.
Were returns to the team after being left out of the team that represented Kenya at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt where Harambee Stars were bundled out in the group stages having only won one match, a 3-2 victory over neighbours Tanzania.
Were, who has worked with Komanzi before when he was at Tusker FC, will join foreign based players Michael Olunga from Kashiwa Reysol FC in Japan and Sofapa’s John Avire.
Noticeable absentees from Kimanzi’s first squad is defensive midfielder Dennis Odhiambo of KCB who played a crucial role in Harambee Stars AFCON qualifiers as well as in the finals in Egypt. However, Kimanzi has listed Odhiambo in the reserve team.
Also missing out is central defender David ‘Çalabar’ Owino of Zesco United, his club-mate midfielder Anthony Teddy Akumu, Masud Juma who now plies his trade in Algeria, winger Paul Were, Zambia’s Musa Mohammed among others.
The team has unexperienced players in the name of defenders Mike Kibwage of KCB and Bernard Ochieng of Wazito FC as well as Kakamega Homeboyz midfielder Moses Mudavadi.
Skipper Victor Wanyama of English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur leads the 14 foreign based players called up by Kimanzi with a majority being those who played in AFCON.
Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia has three players in Joash Onyango, Clifton Miheso and Kenneth Muguna while Bandari FC who finished second in the league last season has one player in defender Sammy Meja.
The squad will have its first match on September 8 when Harambee Stars welcomes neighbours Uganda in a friendly match at the Kasarani Stadium.
Coach Kimanzi has also named 10 players in a reserves list who could be called upon in case of injury to the called up players.
Goalkeepers: Patrick Matasi (St. George SC, Ethiopia), John Oyemba (Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya), Faruk Shikalo (Young Africans SC, Tanzania)
Defenders: Joseph Okumu (Real Monarchs FC, USA), Mike Kibwage (KCB FC, Kenya), Joash Onyango (Gor Mahia FC, Kenya), Benard Ochieng (Wazito FC, Kenya), Abud Omar (Sepsi OSK Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania), Erick Ouma (Vasalunds IF, Sweden) Nicholas Meja (Bandari, Kenya), Samuel Olwande (Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya)
Midfielders: Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspurs FC, England), Francis Kahata (Simba SC, Tanzania), Boniface Muchiri (Tusker FC, Kenya), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia FC, Kenya), Duke Abuya (Kariobangi Sharks FC, Kenya), Ismael Gonzales (UD Las Palmas FC, Spain), Cliffton Miheso (Gor Mahia FC, Kenya), Johanna Omolo (Cercle Brugge, Belgium), Ayub Timbe (Beijing Renhe FC, China), Cliff Nyakeya (FC Masr, Egypt), Erick Johanna (IF Brommapojkarna, Sweden), Moses Mudavadi (Kakamega Homeboyz FC), Whyvone Isuza (AFC Leopards SC)
Forwards: Michael Olunga (Kashiwa Reysol FC, Japan), Jesse Were (Zesco United, Zambia), John Avire (Sofapaka FC, Kenya)
Goalkeepers; Timothy Odhiambo (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya)
Defenders; Johnstone Omurwa (Wazito FC, Kenya), Brian Otieno (Bandari, Kenya), David Owino (Mathare United, Kenya), Hillary Wandera (Tusker, Kenya)
Midfielders; Dennis Odhiambo (KCB, Kenya), Lawrence Juma (Gor Mahia, Kenya),
Forwards; Nicholas Kipkirui (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Enosh Ochieng (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya), Timothy Otieno (Tusker, Kenya)