After a hiatus of over 500 days, Harambee Stars Head Coach, Engin Firat, has named the provisional squad for the friendly against Iran scheduled for March 28, 2023. The 30-man squad comprises a mix of local-based and foreign-based players, with some receiving their first international call-ups.
Firat emphasizes that the upcoming camp is aimed at rebuilding the team dynamic and fostering cohesion among the players. The coach points out that the team has not met for an extended period, and the camp presents an opportunity for the players to reconnect and learn to play together again.
The squad includes some notable call-ups from the Kenyan Premier League. Nzoia Sugar’s midfielder, Hassan Beja, and playmaker, Joseph Mwangi, have earned their maiden call-ups following their impressive league form. AFC Leopards midfielder, Victor Omune, has also received his first international call-up, thanks to a productive season with Ingwe.
Additionally, the squad features international players with Kenyan roots, who ply their trade in Europe. Danish-born defender, Daniel Anyembe, who has captained the Denmark U23 national team, and striker, Alfred Scriven, who plays for IL Hodd in Norway, have received their first invites to the Harambee Stars squad.
Firat notes that it is crucial to have a robust scouting system to identify players who are available to play for Kenya and convince them early to do so. The coach believes that players with international exposure, such as Anyembe and Scriven, have a tactical and mental advantage, having played in European national teams at junior levels. Firat cites the need to emulate other African countries that have employed similar strategies.
The forward department comprises Benson Omalla (Gor Mahia), Elvis Rupia (Police FC), Captain Michael Olunga (Al Duhail, Qatar), Masud Juma (Al-Faisaly, Saudi Arabia), and Scriven. In midfield, the Nzoia duo of Beja and Mwangi is joined by Duke Abuya (Police FC), Kenneth Muguna (Azam FC, Tanzania), and Richard Odada (Philadelphia Union, USA).
Belgium-based Joseph Okumu (Gent) and Erick Ouma (AIK) lead the defensive line that also features Daniel Sakari (Tusker) and David Ochieng (Mathare). Unfortunately, Eric Johana and Jonah Ayunga will miss out on the Iran friendly due to injury.
The team is set to report to camp on Friday, March 17, 2023, to begin preparations for the friendly. Harambee Stars fans will be hoping for an impressive performance from the team, especially with the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers looming on the horizon
Patrick Matasi (Police FC), Ian Otieno (Zesco, Zambia), Bryne Odhiambo (KCB), Levin Opiyo (AFC Leopards)
Joseph Okumu (Gent, Belgium), Brian Mandela (South Africa), Johnstone Omurwa (Estrela, Portugal), Eric Ouma (AIK, Sweden), Andrew Juma (Bandari), David Ochieng (Mathare United), Maurice Owino (KCB), Collins Shichenje (AIK, Sweden), Mohamed Siraj (Bandari), Daniel Anyembe (Viborg, Denmark), Daniel Sakari (Tusker), Abud Omar (Kenya Police)
Amos Nondi (Ararat, Armenia), Richard Odada (Philadelphia Union, USA), Teddy Akumu (Sagan Tosu, Japan), Alpha Onyango (Gor Mahia), Joseph Mwangi (Nzoia Sugar), Kenneth Muguna (Azam, Tanzania), Abdallah Hasan (Bandari), Duke Abuya (Kenya Police), Wilkims Ochieng (FC Koper, Slovenia), Moses Mudavadi (KK Homeboyz), Alvin Mang’eni (Kenya Police), Hasan Beja (Nzoia Sugar), Victor Omune (AFC Leopards)
Benson Omalla (Gor Mahia), Elvis Rupia (Kenya Police), Michael Olunga (Al Duhail, Qatar), Masud Juma (Difaâ Hassani El Jadidi, Morocco), Alfred Scriven (IL Hødd, Norway)