Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi, has sought to deny rumours that Gor Mahia players would be excluded from the 2018 CHAN squad following the decision of the club to prevent their players from playing in next week’s friendly against Malawi. Five Kogalo players: Boniface Oluoch, Musa Mohammed, Harun Shakava, Ernest Wendo and Kenneth Muguna were called up by Okumbi but the club declined to release them thus prompting reports that FKF Chairman Nick Mwendwa had vowed to exclude the club’s players from CHAN.
However Okumbi says Kogalo players are still part of his plans.
“We would have liked to have the (Gor Mahia) players for the Malawi match. Unfortunately the club is not obliged to release players to us outside of the Fifa window. Having said that, football is a team sport and it is our belief that the 11 or so who will be selected to do duty for Kenya come Tuesday will do the country proud.” said Okumbi.
Gor Mahia tactician Ze Maria for his part, wants to keep focus on the trophy. And he recognizes that winning the league will be a tall order.
“It is tough; we have seen how Bandari, AFC Leopards and Ulinzi have started the season. It is not going to be easy but our ambition remains the same, to win the trophy,”said Ze Maria to supersport.
Ze Maria also noted that he is under tremendous pressure from fans who demand consistent results.
“It was important because in this club if you lose two matches in a row, there is so much pressure and confidence is affected. It was very good for us to get that win in a very tough match,” he added.
To keep the club on track, Ze Maria is confident that he call call up on a deep base of players with far more options than in 2016.
“This year we have a very good squad with quality. There is so much competition in the squad and everyone wants to play. This is a good problem for me. In this season, this will be something important for us,” the Brazilian tactician noted.
“Like against Homeboyz Meddie came off the bench to score, maybe another time another player will come off the bench and do something special. It is something good,” he concluded.