KENYA national football team head coach Stanley Okumbi has summoned 10 professionals for the concluding fixture of the 2017 AFCON qualifiers against Zambia on September 3 and says he is looking for nothing but a win against the Chipolopolo Boys.
The star-studded Harambee team that will play Uganda this evening in the final preparatory match before visiting Zambia, is led by skipper Victor Wanyama while other professionals in the group include Zesco United’s trio of Jesse Were, Anthony Akumu and David Owino, South African based Brian Mandela, and IF Djugarden’s Michael Olunga, and .
Slavia Sofia’s Abud Omar, Las Palmas’ Ismail Gonzalez, Lierse’s Ayub Timbe, and USA-based defender David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng complete the list.
Both teams have been bundled out of the AFCON qualification after mixed fortunes and stuttering performances in group E that eliminated them from the 2017 showpiece and the only things remaining to play for are bragging rights and FIFA rankings.
However, Okumbi is leaving nothing to chance as he has summoned a strong 29-man squad that will play against the Cranes as he gauges his charges for the showdown with the Chipolopolo boys.
“We know this has a huge effect on us in terms of our positioning and after the win against Congo, we want to keep up the tempo with another against Zambia. It will be very vital for our motivation as well,” said Okumbi yesterday before departure for Uganda.
He said his main aim was to seal the loopholes at the back in defence adding that he had summoned Ochieng to achieve his objective of making the rear water-tight because he has been impressive with New York Cosmos.
“It will be important for us if we don’t concede. That is the first point we are going to look at. Also, we need to see how well we coordinate as a team and how we progress in attacks. These will be important pointers especially looking forward to Zambia,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ochieng has expressed his delight at making a return to the national team after close to a year out.
The defender stayed for a whole season without a team after leaving Saudi Arabian outfit Al Tawoon FC but has climbed up the ladder of form with impressive performances for Cosmos, a side he joined early this year.
“It is a huge delight for me to get back into good form and hopefully, I can be able to get into the starting team. I know it is tough because the national team has very good defenders,” Ochieng.