World Cup Qualifiers: Why Simba SC’s Onyango was left out of Harambee Stars squad

Goal Kenya.

Football Kenya Federation has offered an explanation as to why defender Joash Onyango was left out of the Harambee Stars squad for upcoming World Cup qualifying matches in September.

The burly star, who currently turns out for Tanzania’s Mainland Premier League champions Simba SC, was among the key players missing out when coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee named a provisional squad of 36 ahead of Uganda and Rwanda matches.

His omission was not received well by a section of Kenyan fans who demanded to know why the former Gor Mahia defender, popularly referred to as ‘Berlin Wall’, owing to his solid defensive skills, did not make the squad.

A top FKF official, who did not want to be named, has confirmed to Goal the player was left out because of injury.

What did the FKF official say?

“Joash [Onyango] was left out because he is currently injured,” the source told Goal on Saturday. “We reached out to his club Simba, who are away in Morocco for pre-season and they told us Onyango is injured.

“We cannot move to bring someone to camp that is already injured and it is the reason the coach decided against calling him to the squad.”

Apart from Onyango, several other players were surprisingly left out, among them captain Victor Wanyama, who turns out for CF Montreal in the Major Soccer League, Ayub Timbe, who recently left Vissel Kobe in Japan, and Anthony Akumu of South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs.

Others left out are Johanna Omollo, Jesse Were of Zesco United in Zambia, Brian Mandela of Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa, and Cliff Nyakeya, who recently left Egyptian side FC Masr.

Some of the notable inclusions in the squad include defender Joseph Okumu of KAA Gent (Belgium), Sweden-based Eric Johanna, Eric Ouma of AIK (Sweden), Al-Duhail SC’s striker Michael Olunga, and the Zambia-based trio of Ian Otieno (Zesco United), Duke Abuya (Nkana FC), and Duncan Otieno (Power Dynamos).

Kenya, who are pooled in Group E alongside Rwanda, Mali, and Uganda and will open their campaign against the Cranes on September 2, at Nyayo Stadium, after which they will travel to face Rwanda on Friday, September 3, 2021.

Harambee Stars named; Goalkeepers: Ian Otieno (Zesco United, Zambia), James Saruni (Ulinzi Stars, Kenya), Joseph Okoth (KCB, Kenya), Brian Bwire (Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya), and Brandon Obiero (Kariobangi Sharks).

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Defenders: Joseph Okumu (KAA Gent, Belgium), Eric Ouma (AIK, Sweden), Eugene Asike (Tusker, Kenya), Nashon Alembi (KCB, Kenya), Harun Shakava (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Andrew Juma (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Siraj Mohammed (Bandari, Kenya), Clyde Senaji (AFC Leopards, ), Frank Odhiambo (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Bolton Omwenga (Nairobi City Stars, Kenya), Daniel Sakari (Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya), and Baraka Badi (KCB, Kenya).

Midfielders: Richard Odada (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia), Duke Abuya (Nkana, Zambia), Duncan Otieno (Lusaka Warriors, Zambia), Lawrence Juma (Sofapaka, Kenya), Kenneth Muguna (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Kevin Kimani (Wazito, Kenya), Patillah Omoto (Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya), Enock Momanyi (FC Talanta, Kenya), Jackson Macharia (Tusker, Kenya), Eric Johanna (Jonkopings Sondra IF, Sweden) Boniface Muchiri (Tusker, Kenya), and Abdalla Hassan (Bandari, Kenya).

Forwards: Michael Olunga (Al-Duhail, Qatar), Masud Juma (Difaâ Hassani El Jadidi, Morocco), Cliffton Miheso (Gor Mahia, Kenya), Erick Kapaito (Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya), Elvis Rupia (AFC Leopards), Samuel Onyango (Gor Mahia, Kenya), and Benson Omalla (Gor Mahia, Kenya).