Harambee Stars on their own for Cape Verde game

By: DAVID KWALIMWA

The national football team’s preparations for the decisive 2018 World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde could be hampered by a broke Football Kenya Federation and lack of financial commitment from the government.

This, in essence, implies that Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson could be forced to field a weakened side for a two-legged knockout clash against the Islanders.

Stars will host the seasoned islanders, who are 90 places above Kenya on the updated Fifa rankings, in the first leg on November 13 with the return leg set for Praia four days later.

A provisional squad consisting of local-based players is set to report to camp this evening to start preparation for the matches, according to Williamson. The Scottish coach was however yet to know the team’s camping and training base by last evening.

“I hope we will be allowed to train at the Nyayo Stadium,” Williamson told Daily Nation Sport Wednesday. “That will be ideal because it is the venue for the match (against Cape Verde).”

NO TRAINING GROUND, NO HOTEL

The coach’s “hope” is informed by the fact that neither FKF nor the government has booked a training ground or hotel for the team. More embarrassing is the fact that these players are still owed training allowances and match winning bonuses from the 5-2 aggregate victory over Mauritius in the previous stage of the competition last month.

Worse, none of the foreign-based players called up the last time has been refunded the money they spent on air tickets to come for the match.

Neither has any of those foreign stars called up last week — including England-based team captain Victor Wanyama, Belgium-based Ayub Timbe and Johanna “Tosh” Omollo and Azam’s Allan Wanga — heard from the FKF or the government how they will get to Nairobi for the Cape Verde contest.

Wanyama had hinted at the professional players might not honour the assignment if the debts are not settled.

“I have on several occasions written to the government informing them of their responsibility of facilitating this team but there is no response,” FKF president Sam Nyamweya told Daily Nation Sport. “Sam Nyamweya cannot get money from his pocket to fund Harambee Stars; that is not my responsibility.”

Incidentally, this confusion comes at a time teams from neighbouring countries are benefitting from support from their respective governments.

On Tuesday, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni promised to charter a plane to ferry the Uganda Cranes and tens of fans to Lome for the team’s World Cup qualifying match against Togo.

The Tanzania team has already set up a government-sponsored 10-day camp in South Africa in readiness for their clash against Algeria.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario, who recently announced that the government will be taking full responsibility for the team’s affairs, was not available for comment by press time.

PROVISIONAL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Arnold Origi (Lillestrome, Norway), Ian Otieno (Posta Rangers), David Okello (Sofapaka)

Defenders: Harun Shakava, Musa Mohamed (Gor Mahia); Edwin Wafula (AFC Leopards); Brian Birgen, Omar Mbongi (Ulinzi Stars); Abdultiff Omar (Bandari), David Ochieng’ (Unattached), Brian Mandela (Maritzburg United, South Africa), Dennis Odhiambo (Thika United), David Owino (Zesco United, Zambia)

Midfielders: Kevin Kimani (Tusker), John Ndirangu (Nakuru All Stars); John Nairuka, Kevin Amwayi (Ulinzi Stars); Ayub Timbe (Lierse SK, Belgium), Bernard Mang’oli (AFC Leopards), Victor Wanyama (Southampton, England), Anthony Akumu (Al Khartoum, Sudan), Johanna Omollo (Royal Antwerp, Belgium), Eric Johanna (Mathare United), Christian Bwamy (Follo FK, Norway); Collins Okoth, Ali Abondo (Gor Mahia); Humphrey Mieno (Tusker), Stephen Wakanya (Chemelil Sugar)

Strikers: Jacob Keli (Nkana, Zambia), Calvince Omanga (Palos), Peter Nzuki (Nakumatt FC), Mark Bikokwa Baraza (Nzoia United), Chrispinus Onyango (KCB), Meshack Karani (Chemelil Sugar), Michael Olunga (Gor Mahia), Allan Wanga (Azam FC, Tanzania), Ken Maritim (Ligi Ndogo), Nicholas Kipkirui (Zoo Kericho)

SOURCE: DAILY NATION