NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 9 – Harambee Stars head coach Jacob Ghost Mulee has been boosted with captain Victor Wanyama set to arrive in the country on Tuesday night ahead of the crucial 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier against Comoros, though just less than 24 hours to the match.
Wanyama who helped his Canadian club Impact Montreal book a slot in the Major League Soccer (MLS) play-offs on Monday morning will travel from New York, where the team has been based due to the COVID-19 restrictions placed in Canada.
With the long travel hours and the difficulty in getting a direct flight to Nairobi, Wanyama will arrive on Tuesday night, but is unfazed with the possibility of fatigue and jet lag.
His presence will be a massive boost for Mulee in his first match in charge for the national team in 10 years especially with the news that striker Michael Olunga is ruled out of the game.
Olunga and his Kashiwa Reysol teammates are currently in quarantine after a faze of coronavirus infections swept through their squad last week.
In camp, most of the foreign based players have already arrived. Masud Juma was the first to link up with the team and has since been joined by the Egyptian based duo of John Avire and Cliff Nyakeya as well as Ismail Gonzalez and Ayub Timbe.
On Monday, the team was joined by the defensive pair of Brian Mandela (South Africa) and Joseph ‘Crouch’ Okumu as well as Eric Johanna, based in Sweden and keeper Arnold Origi.
Zesco United forward John Mark Makwatta was a late call up as a replacement for Olunga and alongside his teammates David Owino and Ian Otieno are expected in the team’s training on Tuesday morning after leaving Ndola on Monday night.
Stars are faced with a crucial tie against Comoros who lead the group with four points. Their chances of making it to back to back Africa Cup of Nations appearances will greatly hinge on the results from this game.
Timbe believes the team has what it takes to win the two games, with the AFCON 2019 experience still fresh on their minds and a burning desire to get back again.
“Everyone is really psyched up for this game. They are top of the group so definitely it will not be an easy game. But we have played them before. We have won and drawn and I believe we are strong enough to beat them again,” Timbe said, looking ahead to Wednesday night’s match.