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Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat calls up Olunga, Omala for Iran date

Michael Olunga and Benson Omala are among 30 players called up to the Harambee Stars squad ahead of the international friendly clash versus Iran.

The clash is set for March 28, 2023, in Tehran.

Olunga, 28, is Kenya’s captain and most dependable striker. He is coach Engin Firat’s key player ahead of this assignment as the country makes a return to the international fold after an enforced break spanning one year-plus.

Omala meanwhile is the most in-form player in the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League.

The Gor Mahia forward has scored 19 times in as many league matches and has been praised by his club coach Jonathan McKinstry as a possible European-bound star in the not-so-distant future.

“Omalla is only operating at 60% of his potential. He can do much better and has the attributes to achieve that. He is humble, grounded and works very hard in training,” said McKinstry in an interview with SportOn on NTV.

The former Western Stima forward has already been linked with a move to the likes of South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns but has reportedly trained his sights on a return to Europe following an earlier stint in Sweden.

Meanwhile, Nzoia winger Hassan Beja and forward Joseph Mwangi, who has seven league goals to his name this season, alongside AFC Leopards Midfielder Victor Omune have also been handed call-ups by Firat.

Danish born defender Daniel Anyembe, who’s captained Denmark’s Under 23 national side in the past, has also been called up.

So has striker Alfred Scriven who plays for IL Hodd in Norway.

He will don the Kenya jersey for the first time if he makes the cut.

Firat says it is good to reconnect with the players after a long time and says his target now is to assess the players and rebuild the team.

“We need a better scouting system to find players who are available to play for Kenya and convince them early to do so. These players have an advantage because some of them have played even in European national teams at junior levels, so they are tactically and mentally ready,” said Firat

“Other African countries are doing this and we need to do the same.” he added.

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)

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