Dunga recalled to Harambee Stars squad for Uganda, Rwanda date
Gor Mahia defender Philemon Otieno is elated by his return to the national team fold after two years in the cold.
The right-back is one of the five players who’ve made a comeback to the Harambee Stars in a 27 man provisional squad named by Turkish tactician Engin Firat.
These players will compete in the remaining Group E Fifa World Cup Qualifiers against Uganda and Rwanda in Kampala and Nairobi respectively, on November 11 and 14.
Another notable returnee is former Tusker, AFC Leopards, and Sony Sugar winger Ismael Dunga, who is now attached to Japan side Sagan Tosu.
Dunga last featured for Stars in 2012.
In August 2019, Otieno damaged his anterior cruciate ligament while playing for Kenya versus Tanzania in the 2020 Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier. But an argument over whom between the federation and his club was to foot his medical bill ensued leading to his exile from the team.
And speaking to Nairobi News, the player explained he harbours no grudge against the federation and is itching to don the Stars jersey.
Otieno has been in fine form for K’Ogalo in the Football Kenya Federation Premier League and Caf Confederation Cup matches. He’s played the entire 90 minutes in all the four league matches and one continental contest against Al Ahly Merowe of Sudan.
“It is an incident I have overcome and have no grudge against Gor or FKF. What is important is that I have been playing football since then and I feel good to have made the squad. The effort and dedication with which I played for the national team before is still there and I’m ready to represent my country,” Otieno told Nation Sport.
Apart from Otieno and Dunga, Firat, 60, has recalled Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Anthony Akumu and Sweden-based Eric Johanna.
The coach has also handed debut call-ups to Belgium-based attacker Wilkins Ochieng and Nairobi City Stars’ forward Timothy Ouma.
Simba defender Joash ‘Berlin Wall’ Onyango his Napsa counterpart David Owino ‘Calaber’ midfielder Ismael Gonzalez and former Tusker striker Henry Mejja who is waiting for his transfer to Swedish top tier side AIK to materialise have been axed from Harambee Stars.
Kenya is third in the group with two points, behind Mali (10 points) and Uganda on eight points. Rwanda is ranked bottom of the group with a point.
Stars are already out of the race to go to Qatar after 1-1 draw away in Rwanda on September 5 followed by 5-0 thumping from Mali on October 7 and 1-0 loss to the West African giants in the reverse fixture on October 10.
Kenya began its campaign by a scoreless draw against Uganda on September 2.
Goalkeepers: Ian Otieno (Zesco, Zambia), Brian Bwire (Tusker), James Saruni (Ulinzi Stars), Gad Mathews (Gor Mahia)
Defenders: Stanley Okumu (KAA Gent, Belgium), Abud Omar (AEL Larissa, Greece), Eric Ouma (AIK,
Sweden), Bolton Omwenga (Kagera Sugar, Tanzania), Eugene Asike (Tusker), Johnstone Omurwa
(Wazito), Philemon Otieno (Gor Mahia)
Midfielders: Amos Nondi (Dilagori, Georgia), Richard Odada (Redstar Belgrade, Serbia), Anthony Wambani
(Vasalunds, Sweden), Kenneth Muguna (Azam, Tanzania), Alwyn Tera (FC Ararat, Armenia),
Anthony Akumu (Kaizer Chiefs, South Africa), Wilkins Ochieng (Club Brugge), Michael Mutinda
(KCB), Duke Abuya (Kenya Police), Timothy Ouma (Nairobi City Stars), Eric Johanna Omondi
(Jonkopings, Sweden), Boniface Muchiri (Tusker), Abdallah Hassan (Bandari)
Forwards: Michael Olunga (Al Duhail, Qatar), Masud Juma (Difaâ Hassani El Jadidi, Morocco), Ismael
Dunga (Sagan Tosu, Japan)