Lesotho- Kenya Preview: Depleted Harambee Stars’ in crucial Afcon fixture

Stars play away to Lesotho minus three players – Arnold Origi, Ayub Timbe and Johanna Omollo – while coach Amrouche is also serving suspension

Harambee Stars play away to Lesotho in Sunday's African Cup of Nations with a depleted squad.

The team has been forced to do without three key players owing to club commitments. Number one goalkeeper Arnold Origi was the first to pull out after his club Lillestrom refused to release him as the match is not recognised by Fifa.

Then midfielders Johanna Omollo and Ayub Timbe also pulled out of the team at the last minute. The two midfielders were key in helping Stars make it to this stage of the qualifiers as they scored in the 2-1 win over Comoros.

Also missing from Stars’ squad is head coach Adel Amrouche. The coach is suspended for two matches. Bandari goalkeeper Wilson Oburu is likely to start between the posts in the absence of Origi. The Bandari custodian has been an able replacement for Origi in previous matches.

At the back, the team is likely to start James Situma, David Owino and David Ochieng. All the three players have the necessary experience to feature at this level.

Perhaps it is in the midfield where Stars are spoilt for choice. Team captain Victor Wanyama, his brother Macdonald Mariga and Jamal Mohammed all have what it takes to do well here.

Being away, Stars are likely to prefer a draw and may employ a man striking force where either Allan Wanga or Jacob Keli should start.

The last time Stars played against Lesotho, the match ended in a 2-2 draw and was during last year's Cosafa Cup in Zambia. Former Harambee Stars assistant coach Salim Ali has admitted that the team will struggle in replacing key players.

Ali says the unavailable players, who include Belgium-based midfielders Ayub Timbe and Johanna Omollo, have been a key part of the campaign and will therefore, be missed.

“In terms of options, the team has variety but replacing the specific individuals will be difficult if you consider that they have been with this team for long. However, this is an opportunity for those who will get a chance to prove themselves,” Ali told Goal.

He also admitted that the absence of head coach Adel Amrouche may affect the team considering his father figure influence on the side.