Harambee Stars report to camp as Sports Ministry stays mum on Zambia friendly

The national team has moved to residential training despite the Sports Ministry yet to give clearance for the upcoming friendly

Harambee Stars players reported to residential training on Sunday despite the government yet to confirm whether they have cleared the friendly against Zambia on October 10.

Football Kenya Federation President Nick Mwendwa confirmed to Goal all the local-based players had reported to camp at Safari Park Hotel but they were still waiting for a word from the government on whether the friendly will be played or not.

“We have all the local-based players named by the coach already in camp and they have all undergone Covid-19 tests,” Mwendwa told Goal. “We want to start training tomorrow [Monday] at Kasarani but we have not heard from the Ministry yet on the way forward.

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“I only got a call from an official from Kasarani who told me he will give us a letter allowing the team to use the venue for training but we have not received any response yet as far as our request to the Ministry of Sports in regards to the build-up is concerned.

“We don’t know why the government is taking long to give us a go-ahead and they are the ones who said international assignments will be given first priority, we have done our part, we wrote to them as they requested but now the time is running out.

“I will make sure the team starts training on Monday as planned at Kasarani, we don’t have time to waste as we only have a month remaining before we play the Afcon match against Comoros.”

On Saturday, Mwendwa revealed frustrations with the government over the friendly by stating they are not sure whether the match will take place, and revealed Kenya will be fined if the fixture fails to take place as Zambia are due in the country on Thursday.

“The government promised that national teams will be given special exemptions to play international matches but until now we have not received any response from them despite writing twice, asking for clearance for the friendly against Zambia,” Mwendwa continued.

“We simply don’t know what is happening, the government said we write to them for clearance, and we have already done it twice but so far we don’t have any reply from them, so we don’t know if the friendly will go ahead as planned or not.

“We don’t have a venue to use for the match because the same government is yet to clear us to use either Kasarani or Nyayo Stadium, we are in the dark and it is very frustrating for us.”

Kenya started their campaign for the 2021 Afcon, to be held in Cameroon, with an impressive 1-1 draw away to Egypt. They followed it up with another draw, by the same margin, in Nairobi against Togo.

In Group G, Comoros, who started their campaign with a 1-0 win against Togo before settling for a goalless draw against the Pharaohs, lead with four points.

Final Squad; Goalkeepers; Ian Otieno (Zesco United, Zambia), and Timothy Odhiambo (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya).

Defenders: Brian Mandela (Unattached), Johnstone Omurwa (Wazito, Kenya), Joash Onyango (Simba, Tanzania), Joseph Okumu (Elfsborg, Sweden), Clarke Oduor (Barnsley, England), David Owino (Mathare United, Kenya), Philemon Otieno (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Badi Baraka (KCB, Kenya).

Midfielders: Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Francis Kahata (Simba, Tanzania), Eric Johanna (Jonkoping’s Sodra IF, Sweden), Cliff Nyakeya (Masr FC, Egypt), Antony Akumu (Kaiser Chief, South Africa), Hassan Abdallah (Bandari FC, Kenya), Lawrence Juma (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Katana Mohamed (Isloch, Belarus), Austin Otieno (AFC Leopards, Kenya).

Forwards: Elvis Rupia (AFC Leopards, Kenya), Masud Juma (JS Kabylie, Algeria), Timothy Otieno (NAPSA Stars, Zambia), Oscar Wamalwa (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya).

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