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The national team will have to do without three of their key players in their friendly and the Afcon qualifying matches

Kenya have suffered a further blow after it emerged captain Victor Wanyama and midfielder Johanna Omollo will not be available for the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches.

Harambee Stars are set to take on Comoros in a double-header in November, but before that, they will play build-up matches, firstly against Zambia on October 10 in Nairobi, and a game against Sudan yet to get a date.

On Monday, coach Francis Kimanzi named a 34-man squad for the two friendlies and the double-header against the Island nation but confirmed Wanyama and Omollo are likely to miss the matches, the same as striker Michael Olunga, whom Goal exclusively reported about his absence last week.

“Influential forward Michael Olunga, captain Wanyama, and midfielder Omollo, in the meantime, may miss out on the final squad owing to the strict Covid-19 protocols imposed by the countries from which they ply their trade,” FKF said in a statement.

Goal reported last week Olunga, who is currently enjoying a good spell with Japanese top-tier side Kashiwa Reysol, will not be able to travel for the two matches, since his club is not ready to release him as the player will miss seven matches should he travel to Kenya owing to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Japan have put in place tough rules owing to Covid-19 and it might not be easy to have Olunga for the Afcon qualifier against Comoros at home and away,” the source, who did not want to be named, told Goal on Friday.

“Why Kashiwa Reysol are concerned is because should they release the player to play for Kenya, then when he returns to Japan, he will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine and in that period they have important league matches to play, so they are not ready to release the player.”

Olunga, who also featured for Thika United, Tusker, and Gor Mahia in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) is currently the top scorer in the J1-League with 15 goals.

A top FKF official, who did not want to be named, also told Goal they are ready to use local-based players in the four matches.

“We will try our best to secure the release of the professionals but if it doesn’t work out then we will have to use our local-based players,” the source told Goal. “We already don’t have Olunga, Wanyama, and Omollo and might still miss out on several players.”

Goalkeeper Arnold Origi of HIFK Fotboll in Finland has been recalled to the team’s fold after a five-year absence. Origi, Ian Otieno of Zesco United, and Ulinzi Stars’ Timothy Otieno are the goalkeepers called up for the October 10 encounter against Chipolopolo.

Clarke Oduor of Championship side Barnsley and Masoud Juma of JS Kabylie have also been included in the squad.

Full Squad;

Goalkeepers: Arnold Origi (HIFK, Finland), Ian Otieno (Zesco United, Zambia), Timothy Odhiambo (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya)

Defenders: Brian Mandela (Unattached), Joash Onyango (Simba, Tanzania), Joseph Okumu (Elfsborg, Sweden), Harun Shakava (Nkana, Zambia), Clarke Oduor (Barnsley, England), Hillary Wandera (Tusker, Kenya), Samuel Olwande (Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya), David Owino (Mathare United, Kenya), Johnstone Omurwa (Wazito, Kenya), Collins Shichenje (AFC Leopards, Kenya), Andrew Juma (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Philemon Otieno (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Badi Baraka (KCB, Kenya)

Midfielders: Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Victor Wanyama (Impact Montreal, Canada), Francis Kahata (Simba, Tanzania), Eric Johanna (Jonkoping’s Sodra IF, Sweden), Cliff Nyakeya (Masr FC, Egypt), Antony Akumu (Kaiser Chief, South Africa), Johanna Omolo (Cercle Brugge K.S.V, Belgium), Ayub Timbe (Beijing Renhe, China), Brian Musa (Wazito, Kenya), Lawrence Juma (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Katana Mohamed (Isloch, Belarus), Austin Otieno (AFC Leopards, Kenya)

Forwards: Michael Olunga (Kashiwa Reysol, Japan), Elvis Rupia (AFC Leopards, Kenya), Masud Juma (JS Kabylie, Algeria), Timothy Otieno (NAPSA Stars, Zambia), John Avire (Tanta FC, Egypt), Oscar Wamalwa (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya).

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September 28, 2020
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