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Harambee Stars coach decries absence of uninjured trio after Burundi draw

Saturday, June 8th, 2024 10:47 | By
Zak Vyner training with Harambee Stars in Malawi. PHOTO/@Harambee__Stars
Zak Vyner training with Harambee Stars in Malawi. PHOTO/@Harambee__Stars

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat expressed his frustration over the absence of three key players following Kenya's 1-1 draw against Burundi.

New call-ups Zak Vyner and Tobias Knost, both of whom missed the match, were excluded due to unresolved nationality switch issues.

Harambee Stars duo miss

Vyner and Knost, born in England and Germany respectively, faced complications that prevented them from being in the starting lineup or reserves.

Tobias Knost in Harambee Stars camp. PHOTO/FKF
Tobias Knost in Harambee Stars camp. PHOTO/FKF

Additionally, striker John Avire was unavailable, as Kenya conceding a late goal and dropping points. Coach Firat highlighted the impact of these absences on the team's performance.

"We have serious problems that are difficult to understand. Today, we missed three players who are not injured because of some mistakes that were made. If even one of them had been on the field, given that we had done all our tactical training with them, we would have definitely won, not 1-0, but by a minimum of 2-0," Firat stated in a post-match interview.

When questioned about the availability of these players for the upcoming game against the Ivory Coast on Tuesday, Firat replied, "God knows. Things that seem so simple can be very difficult in Kenya."

The Harambee Stars commenced preparations for the qualifiers on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Nairobi but has been hit by injuries with Joseph Okumu and Eric Ouma being among injured players.

Despite being the home team, Harambee Stars are hosting their games at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, Malawi.

This arrangement is due to the unavailability of Kenya's Nyayo National Stadium and Kasarani Stadium, the only venues provisionally approved by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to host international matches.

Harambee Stars training at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Harambee Stars training at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, Malawi. PHOTO/@Harambee__Stars/X

Both stadiums are currently undergoing renovations in preparation for the 2024 African Nations Championships (CHAN) and the 2027 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), which Kenya will co-host with Tanzania and Uganda.

Harambee Stars Full Squad

Goalkeepers: Ian Otieno, Byrne Omondi, Patrick Matasi

Defenders: Johnstone Omurwa, Collins Sichenje, Zak Vyner, Alphonce Omija, Abud Omar, Daniel Anyembe, Tobias Knost, Baron Ochieng

Midfielders: John Ochieng, Anthony Akumu, Richard Odada, Chrispine Erambo, Timothy Ouma, Duke Abuya, Kenneth Muguna, Austin Odhiambo, Ronney Onyango, Clifton Miheso

Forwards: John Avire, Benson Omalla, Michael Olunga

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