NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 2 – Striker John Avire and goalkeeper Patrick Matasi have been recalled as Harambee Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi named his preliminary squad for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Egypt and Togo this month.
Avire has been missing since the team returned from the 2019 Cup of Nations as he tried to force a move to Egyptian side Tanta, but Kimanzi has handed him a life line though he is still listed as a Sofapaka player.
The forward has not played for the Egyptian club as Sofapaka refused to hand him a release letter until the club paid a transfer fee for him, an issue that has literally dragged him off the playing contingent.
Meanwhile, Matasi has been recalled for the two qualifiers after being rested for last month’s friendly against Mozambique. Yanga’s Faruk Shikalo has been dropped from the squad after his not so convincing performance as the starter in the Mozambique friendly.
The squad named mostly has players who were part of the team that played in the Uganda and Mozambique friendlies, but there are a few new inclusions.
AFC Leopards striker John Mark Makwatta has been rewarded for his explosive start to the season and earns a return to the team for the first time in three years while there is a debut call up for Kariobangi Sharks defender Daniel Sakari.
Midfielders Johannah Omollo and Ayub Timbe who were not part of the squad for the Mozambique friendly have also been recalled while former Tusker FC striker Boniface Muchiri who moved to the United States to join Golden State Arrows has also earned a place.
Eric Johannah who was also overlooked for last month’s friendly match is also part of the preliminary squad.
Goalkeepers; Patrick Matasi (St. George SC, Ethiopia), Timothy Odhiambo (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya), Ian Otieno (Red Arrows, Zambia)
Defenders; Johnstone Omurwa (Wazito, Kenya), Harun Shakava (Nkana, Zambia), Joash Onyango (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Daniel Sakari (Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya), Hillary Wandera (Tusker, Kenya), Erick Ouma (Vasalunds IF, Sweden), Joseph Okumu (IF Elfsborg, Sweden), Samuel Olwande (Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya)
Midfielders; Teddy Akumu (Zesco United, Zambia), Johanna Omollo (Cercle Brugge, Belgium), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Ayub Timbe (Beijing Renhe, China), Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspurs, England), Boniface Muchiri (Golden State Arrows, USA), Lawrence Juma (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Cliff Nyakeya (FC Masr, Egypt), Erick Johanna Omondi (IF Brommapojkarma, Sweden), Whyvone Isuza (AFC Leopards, Kenya)
Forwards; Michael Olunga (Kashiwa Reysol, Japan), Jesse Were (Zesco United, Zambia), John Avire (Sofapaka, Kenya), John Mark Makwatta (AFC Leopards, Kenya).