Four players snub Okumbi’s call up for national duty
Four Kenyan international players have snubbed national team call-up and instead travelled to Tanzania to feature in the SportPesa Super Cup scheduled to begin on Monday next week.
Gor Mahia trio of Kenneth Muguna, Timothy Otieno and Harun Shakava, plus AFC Leopards midfielder Duncan Otieno were all part of the national team squad scheduled to play Sierra Leone next weekend in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, but all left for Tanzania for the week-long regional tournament to be held in Dar es Salaam.
The two sides alongside Kenyan champions Tusker FC and second tier club Nakuru All Stars will compete against Tanzania clubs at the inaugural tournament.
At stake for the winning team in this eight team competition is comparatively enticing bonuses plus a possibility of lining up against Ronad Koemen’s Everton in a highly billed friendly in July.
It is with this possibility in mind that perhaps informed the four players’ decision to decline national team calls ups.
Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi said it was unfortunate that the trio refused to heed to his call, but all the same wished them well in the upcoming tournament.
“That is their choice. I called them up but there is no way I could force them to turn up for training. In fact, Muguna and Otieno did not show up for training at all. It is only Shakava who communicated and asked for to be allowed to join his team mates for the game in Tanzania. There is nothing more I can do when it gets to that point,” Okumbi said.
In all fairness though, the four players were unlikely to feature against the Leone Stars, had they opted to join the national team camp.
Sample this, Harun Shakava is a central defender. This position will likely to be occupied by either David Odhiambo, David Ochieng and Brian Mandela who are more experienced and have consistently delivered at this level
Similarly, Duncan Otieno and Muguna certainly face a losing battle for a starting position in central midfield.
Blocking their way to the starting eleven is Victor Wanyama, Anthony Akumu, Johanna Eric and Johanna Omollo who are based in England, Zambia, Sweden and Belgium respectively.
Meanwhile, Timothy Otieno is the team’s third choice striker behind Micheal Olunga and Jesse Were, in that order.