Sports

Harambee Stars players to watch in WCQ against Burundi

Thursday, June 6th, 2024 18:31 | By
Harambee Stars in a training session with head coach Engin Firat.
Harambee Stars in a training session with head coach Engin Firat. PHOTO/(@Harambee__Stars)/X

Harambee Stars will take to the pitch on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Malawi for the World Cup Qualifier matches against Burundi as they seek to put pressure on leaders Ivory Coast.

The match will commence at 4:00 p.m. Kenyan time at the Bingu Stadium in Lilongwe, Malawi. Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has called several names to the camp, but certain players are expected to be particularly impactful in the match.

Here are players

Michael Olunga

The Harambee Stars skipper remains a crucial figure. Despite Al Duhail's drop in the Qatar All Stars League this season, Olunga was the top scorer for his side, managing to score 16 goals in the league.

He also netted four goals in the Asian Champions League and seven for the national team, bringing his season total to 28 goals. Despite losing the Golden Boot to Akram Afif, Olunga's season was notable, especially considering his comeback from a hamstring injury sustained in December during an Asian Champions League match against Persepolis.

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

His 28 goals place him fifth among top African strikers in the 2023/24 campaign. Heading into the qualifiers, Olunga, who previously scored five goals in the Four Nations in Lilongwe, will be keen to extend his run and chase the title of Kenya's all-time top scorer.

Daniel Anyembe

The Viborg defender has established himself as a mainstay in Kenya's defense since his debut in 2023. Despite missing some national team duties due to injury, he made significant contributions in the Four Nations Cup in Lilongwe, providing several assists.

Friday's match will mark Anyembe's first World Cup qualifier, as he missed the opening games due to injury.

Having only played in friendlies so far, this qualifier offers him a chance to debut in competitive matches, and he will be eager to shine on this stage.

Austin Odhiambo

The Gor Mahia attacker is presented with an opportunity to unleash his best on the international stage due to Eric Johana's absence.

Coach Firat highlighted the team's struggle to create chances in a recent friendly loss to South Sudan in 2023, a problem Austin can potentially solve given his performance in the FKF Premier League, where he excelled in creating and scoring goals from midfield.

If given the chance, Odhiambo is likely to play a key role in the upcoming clash.

Zak Vyner

The Bristol defender is one of the new faces in the squad, brought in as several defenders, such as Eric Ouma and Joseph Okumu, are doubtful.

Vyner has been a mainstay and top performer for Bristol City, earning recognition as Players’ Player of the Year at the club's end-of-season awards.

In the 2023/24 season, Vyner made 37 appearances, starting 36 matches and accumulating 3,154 minutes of playing time. He completed 36 tackles, made 1,472 passes in his own half, and 505 in the opposition half. Vyner played 45 Championship games last season, scored one goal, and provided three assists.

Overall, he has played 242 matches, clocking 20,082 minutes, with 223 starts and five goals. A chance to play for Harambee Stars will be an opportunity for Vyner to showcase his abilities.

Richard Odada

Odada heads into the qualifiers after ending his loan spell with AaB, where he made 21 appearances and managed to score his first four career goals.

Harambee Stars midfielder Richard Odada (left) vies for the ball against Uganda Cranes’ Karisa Milton during their FIFA World Cup Qualifier at Nyayo Stadium. PHOTO/David Ndolo.
Harambee Stars midfielder Richard Odada (left) vies for the ball against Uganda Cranes’ Karisa Milton during their FIFA World Cup Qualifier at Nyayo Stadium. PHOTO/David Ndolo.

Odada hopes to carry this form into the national team and make a significant impact in the qualifiers.

These players, with their various skills and experiences, are expected to make significant contributions as Harambee Stars strive for a victory against Burundi, aiming to put pressure on group leaders Ivory Coast.

More on Sports


ADVERTISEMENT