Michael Olunga will likely lead the Kenya national team attack for the first time ever in a competitive game as Kenya take on Congo-Brazzaville in the opening match of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. Olunga has played for the national team at various levels such as U20 and U23. He has played for the senior national team in friendly matches. This match against Congo is his first opportunity to be the focal point of the attack. Of course there are other attackers in the squad such as Allan Wanga, Noah Wafula and Jesse Were. But based on current form Olunga should be the man to lead Kenya’s attack especially in the absence of Dennis Oliech. Coach Williamson has taken a huge gamble in leaving Oliech out of the squad. He will be hoping that Olunga can vindicate his choice.
Other Gor Mahia players who could play are goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch and midfielder Collins Okoth “Gattuso”. The duo are experienced campaigners having played for the national team as far back as 2012. With this match being played away from home, Williamson might deploy a defensive formation in which case the tenacity of Gattuso will be crucial. If experience is the determining factor then Boniface Oluoch will be the man between the posts for Kenya. Ian Otieno, while talented, is highly untested.
For the Gor Mahia trio, it will be an opportunity to earn a measure of revenge after they were eliminated by AC Leopards of Congo-Brazza. But Congo-Brazza are 76 places above Kenya in the Fifa world rankings and will, obviously, start as favourites, more so, since they are playing at home.
In form midfielder Ali Abondo was surprisingly left out of the squad. Other shock exclusions were Peter Opiyo, Clifford Miheso who are based in Finland as well as Oliech and Mariga. While keeper Arnold Origi was left behind because the incompetents at FKF did not send paperwork to his club on time.
Harambee Stars Squad
Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Ian Otieno (Posta Rangers)
Defenders: David Ochieng (Al-Tawoun, Saudi Arabia), Aboud Omar (Un-attached), Jackson Saleh (AFC Leopards), David Owino (Zesco United, Zambia), Edwin Wafula (AFC Leopards).
Midfielders: Francis Kahata (FK Tirana, Albania), Victor Wanyama (Southampton, England), Ayub Timbe (KRC Genk, Belgium), Paul Were (Unattached), Humphrey Mieno (Tusker), Kevin Kimani (Tusker), Stephen Wakhanya (Chemelil Sugar), Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth (Gor Mahia), Anthony Akumu (Al Khartoum, Sudan).
Strikers: Allan Wanga (Unattached), Michael Olunga (Gor Mahia), Noah Wafula (AFC Leopards), Jesse Were (Tusker).