Full house for Harambee Stars with Olunga set to report to camp
Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has won a drawn out tussle with Japanese club Kashiwa Reysol to have Michael Olunga released for national duty.
The striker is now due to link up with Harambee Stars squad on Wednesday evening at the team’s training camp in Paris.
Olunga is the only player in the 27-man provisional squad named by Sebastian Migne who was yet to link up with the team by Tuesday, leaving the head coach and FKF president Nick Mwendwa fuming.
“His club says it will release him on Wednesday morning. We will wait to see if the officials keep their word and then let you know,” Mwendwa confirmed to Nairobi News during a telephone interview from Paris.
This development highlights a significant breakthrough in negotiations between FKF and the Japan second-tier club which was earlier on only willing to release the player after Sunday’s league match away to Ehime FC.
At some point due to the standoff, Migne hinted that if Olunga wasn’t released on time then he would to leave him out of the team for Friday’s international friendly match against Madagascar in Paris.
Indeed, the Frenchman even contemplated dropping Olunga from his 27-man Africa Cup of Nations as a result, with Kakamega Homeboyz attacker Allan Wanga and Zesco United’s Jesse Were lined up as alternatives.
Migne is said to have mapped out an elaborate training program for each of his players in a bid to gauge their fitness and fine tune the technical and tactical formations ahead of Kenya’s Group C assignments at the Africa Cup of Nations against Senegal, Algeria, and Tanzania.
It is against this background that the coach even rejected a request by Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama to rest for four days following the Uefa Champions League final versus Liverpool in Madrid on Saturday.
Wanyama reported to camp on Tuesday evening.
Olunga missed Kenya’s last international assignment away to Ghana in March under unclear circumstances as Reysol – who are placed seventh in the 22-team Japan’s second tier league – insisted he was carrying an ‘injury’.