By Otieno Otieno
Harambee Stars assistant coach James Nandwa has said the absence of striker Dennis Oliech and goalkeeper Arnold Origi will be a big blow for the team when they play Nigeria in the June 5 World Cup qualifier in Nairobi.
Nandwa said the team will miss the experience of the two players leaving them with an uphill task of motivating the others to rise up to the occasion of tackling the Super Eagles.
Norway-based Origi revealed to Goal.com in an exclusive interview on Wednesday that he has picked two yellow cards as confirmed by World governing body Fifa in a letter to Football Kenya Federation on Friday and will therefore, miss the return leg clash against the Africa champions.
"When you are playing a team like Nigeria, one needs all the experience they can have for such a match. The two provide just that and in their absence that will be lacking," said Nandwa.
Nandwa said they have to quickly identify replacements for the two and build their confidence before Nigeria comes calling.
The absence of the two players will give coach Adel Amrouche plenty of headaches considering their influence in the team. Origi has been the country's top goalkeeper in the last five years while the country is yet to find a lethal striker to take the place of Oliech.
In the absence of Origi, coach Adel Amrouche is likely to prefer either Sofapaka custodian Duncun Ochieng or Tusker goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch.
Indeed, when Origi missed Kenya's first World Cup qualifying match against Malawi last year, it was Oluoch who was called upon to start in goal.
However, of late veteran Duncun Ochieng has appeared to be the team's favorite as he has been Origi's assistant in goal.
Oliech's absence is likely to be covered up by AFC Leopards striker Allan Wanga who has started playing after a short injury spell.
Wanga is no stranger to playing Nigeria and scored against the Super Eagles when the two teams last played in Nairobi one year ago in a match the West African side won 3-2.