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Sofapaka defender earns late Harambee Stars call-up

Tuesday, June 4th, 2024 11:30 | By
Baron Ochieng in action for the Kenya U20 Rising Stars in a friendly match against the Tusker FC Youth Team.
Baron Ochieng in action for the Kenya U20 Rising Stars in a friendly match against the Tusker FC Youth Team. PHOTO/FKF

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has handed Sofapaka right-back Baron Ochieng a late call-up ahead of the Burundi and Ivory Coast 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Ochieng has previously earned national call-ups to the junior sides but has now earned a senior summons and will join the camp in Lilongwe, Malawi.

"Sofapaka FC right-back Baron Ochieng has earned his first-ever call-up to the senior national team, the Harambee Stars. This is the first time the youngster has made a cut to the senior team after previous appearances in the junior ranks.

"The Sofapaka man has seen a consistent rise in his football career. In December 2023, he was part of the Kenya U-18 squad that represented the country at the 2023 CECAFA Junior Championships held in Kisumu and Kakamega. Furthermore, Baron was part of the Kenya U-20 team in March of this year, representing the country at the Four Nations tournament in Malawi," the Football Kenya Federation announced on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Alongside Daniel Anyembe and Collins Sichenje, Ochieng is expected to link up with his teammates on Tuesday.

This is another new call-up to the team after AFC Leopards' Miheso was summoned to fill the gap left by Eric Johanna, who went missing despite being included in the initial squad.

Kenya will play Burundi on June 7, before an encounter against Ivory Coast on June 11. Harambee Stars will host their matches in the COSAFA nation, given that their home grounds are not available as they undergo renovation.

Harambee Stars training in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Harambee Stars training in Lilongwe, Malawi. PHOTO/@Harambee__Stars/X

As Kenya looks for yet another World Cup qualifying win, Allan Wanga is confident they can get the crucial points in June.

"Good planning will easily get us points against the two opponents. The team has been in camp for some time, which is a positive thing. If we organize ourselves well on and off the pitch, we will reap good results. It has been proven that there are no longer underdogs in football," Wanga said.

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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