Spain-based star Ismael Gonzalez is the latest player to be ruled out of the Kenyan squad set to face Uganda in a friendly.
The defensive midfielder who turns out for UD Las Palmas Atlético in Segunda División B, will not make it for the friendly against the East African neighbours after losing his luggage and travel documents at the airport in Madrid on his way to Kenya.
Football Kenya Federation media officer Ken Okaka has confirmed the latest development to Goal: “We received a phone call from [Gonzalez] who confirmed he had lost his luggage plus the travelling documents as he was waiting to connect a flight from Madrid to Kenya.
“It will now be impossible for him to make it for the friendly because he doesn’t have travel documents. We have allowed him to pursue the lost luggage and will thus miss the match.”
The absence of Gonzalez, who was part of the Harambee Stars squad which took part at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) held in Egypt, has forced coach Francis Kimanzi to draft into the squad Johnstone Omurwa of Wazito FC.
The exclusion of Gonzalez comes just a day after Goal reported coach Kimanzi will be without the services of key players – captain Victor Wanyama, Johanna Omollo, and Joseph Okumu – for the build-up derby which will be played at Kasarani Stadium.
Wanyama was excused from the side to sort out his transfer issues with Tottenham Hotspur, Omollo is out injured while Okumu was allowed to settle at his new club IF Elfsborg in Sweden.
Coach Kimanzi is, however, not worried with the absence of the players, insisting it will give a chance to the young players in the squad to show what they can offer.
“I don’t think it is a blow for us to miss the players, yes, as a coach you always want to have your best players available but in this case, we have valid reasons why they are not coming,” Kimanzi told Goal.
“It is a good opportunity for the new call-ups to step up and show us what they can do when we don’t have the regulars and I want to see how they perform against Uganda.”
In the absence of Wanyama, Kimanzi has drafted in Gor Mahia midfielder Lawrence Juma who was in the reserve squad. Also recalled to the Kenyan squad is Ulinzi Stars striker Enosh Ochieng and Bernard Otieno of Bandari FC.
Kenya will use the friendly to gauge their preparedness ahead of their 2021 Afcon qualifying matches against Egypt and Togo.
Kenya squad; Goalkeepers: Patrick Matasi (St. George), John Oyemba (Kariobangi Sharks) and Faruk Shikalo (Young Africans).
Defenders: Johnstone Omurwa (Wazito), Evans Kibwage (KCB), Joash Onyango (Gor Mahia), Brian Otieno (Bandari), Hillary Wandera (Tusker), Erick Ouma (Vasalunds), Amai Atariza (Bandari) and Samuel Olwande (Kariobangi Sharks).
Midfielders: Francis Kahata (Simba), Boniface Muchiri (Tusker), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia), Duke Abuya (Kariobangi Sharks), Collins Agade (Bandari), Cliffton Miheso (Gor Mahia), Lawrence Juma (Gor Mahia), Ayub Timbe (Beijing Renhe), Cliff Nyakeya (FC Masr), Erick Johanna Omondi (IF Brommapojkarma), Moses Mudavadi (Kakamega Homeboyz) and Whyvone Isuza (AFC Leopards).
Forwards: Michael Olunga (Kashiwa Reysol), Jesse Were (Zesco United) and Enosh Ochieng (Ulinzi Stars).