Harambee Stars players stranded at Wilson Airport

By: ISAAC SWILA

Harambee Stars players are stranded at Wilson Airport, where they had gone to board a chartered flight to Cape Verde.

In a day full of drama, the players refused to leave camp unless their outstanding allowances were fully settled before their return leg of the 2018 World Cup qualifier.

And once the allowances were settled, the team got stranded at Wilson Airport after it emerged that the chartered plane they were to use, owned by ALS Airline, had not been paid for.

The team was scheduled to jet out at 10am for Praia, where they will lock horns will their hosts on Tuesday evening in an all-stakes duel, but the delay in paying their allowances and poor travel plans by the government and federation caused the delay.

While at camp at Kasarani, the foreign-based players insisted that they had to be reimbursed for the money they had used to buy air tickets in the past to travel to Nairobi to honour national calling.

It forced Football Kenya Federation (FKF) chief executive officer Michael Esakwa to go to camp and settle the allowances, with each player pocketing Sh70,000.

It was only after the money had been paid that the team left for Wilson Airport shortly after 12pm.

Speaking to Nation Sport at Wilson Airport, team captain Victor Wanyama launched a scathing attack on the team’s handlers over the shambolic preparations and poor travel plans.

“It (proper preparations) has been a song for so many years but it has not affected us. As players we spoke about this mentally we are strong and will be ready for the game.

“It’s a good thing that we have been refunded our air ticket (money) but as a captain, you don’t want to be in this situation. It is a bad thing and not good for the team too but we are now focused on the game.

On the match, he said: “We need to do the same as we did here; we’ve learnt from the mistakes we made here and hopefully we will be compact and get the result to see us through. We can’t be defensive; we want to enjoy football and so we have to attack. The best strategy of defence is to attach and stick to our game plan.”

Lead striker Michael Olunga was also not pleased with the chaotic travel arrangements: “The federation needs to improve on our preparations.Travel arrangements should be made earlier, we should be leaving earlier, not one day before the game and we hope the federation will improve on that.”

Olunga, however, maintained that despite the chaotic preparations and the shambolic travel arrangements they are set for the duel.

“We are geared for the match. It’s a tough match; a do-or-die game. We are going to do our level best because the job is half done and we have to give 100 per cent.

“They (Cape Verde) are a good side, they created chances (in the first leg). Maybe we could change tactics and you could see me playing from the wings or centre forward.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION