The new crop of Kenya football: takes closer look on Michel's new faces

Mathare United's Andrew Tololwa, Wesley Kemboi (Western Stima), Anthony Akumu (Gor Mahia) are among players readying for South Africa friendly
On most occasions, Harambee Stars coach Henri Michel requires a translator to pass a point across to Kenyans. On other instances he doesn't need to speak at all.

With a stroke of the pen, the Frenchman earlier this week sent home nine local based players from his camp as the team prepared to face South Africa in what will be his first match in charge since taking over the coaching mantles.

Most of the sidelined players are considered 'dependable' and 'untouchables' at their respective clubs which made the decision even more suprising to the vast majority of Kenyan fans.

And the former French and Ivory Coast tactician wasn't done yet. The dropped players were replaced by a clique of 'unknowns' a selection procedure that has left more questions than answers. Kenya takes a closer look on the chosen few.


The Mathare United winger/striker has put out his best performances this season in the local league, scoring eight goals in 15 outings.

The 23 year old's biggest asset is his pace and versatility. He can assist or convert in equal measure.

Rumors are rife that a move to seek greener pastures is in the horizon. Whatever the case, this call up will instill confidence in a player who is still a long way from reaching his potential but is on the right track.


Seems like a typical case of falling in love on the first date. Henri Michel watched this striker in person on one occasion (in a league match involving Sofapaka and Western Stima) then instantly decided that he had got his man.

More intriguing is that Kemboi, a striker, was not on the score sheet as his team edged the former champions at the City Stadium on that fateful day.

My instincts tell me that the Stars coach could have watched the video of the 28 year old a week earlier, as he went on dismantling title challengers AFC Leopards on his own in a league match, scoring 2 goals in the 2-1 win at the Afraha Stadium.

All in all, with four goals the entire season, a much lesser tally than that of Allan Wanga and Mike Baraza who were both dropped, the jury is still out on this selection.


An imposing central defender who has grown in stature since moving from KCB to Sofapaka at the start of this local league campaign.

His displays have continuously earned him call ups to the national team, where he is yet to cement a first team place.

The 22 year old is said to be on the verge of completing a move to the Swedish second division league.

He is a player ready for the big stage and has the quality to become a mainstay at the heart of defence.


The 20 year old's talent is undoubted in most quarters and the lad was linked with a move to Europe a few seasons back.

It has taken the arrival of current Gor Mahia coach Zdravko Logarusic to get the best out of the lanky holding midfielder.

Has the ingredients to make it at this level but will have to work his socks off to earn playing time in a position that has the most talent in the national soccer team.

Francis Kahata: Three words best describe this player. Talented but inconsistent. Make them four. Talented but very inconsistent.

A product of the famed Thika United Academy. The 21 year old's performances have earned him a move to South Africa but inconsistent (how many times have I mentioned this?) saw him return back home.

A tricky attacking midfielder with an eye for the killer pass, Kahata will need to pinch himself severally for answers as to why he earned a call up at the expense of Rama Salim. Better still, he would need to work hard and reward the coaches faith in him.

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