Harambee Stars team selection come under heavy criticism

Goal Kenya.
Another big call that may expose both Kenyan Premier League and FKF is the omission of Michael Madoya of Zoo Kericho FC

Stanley Okumbi will have some tough questions to answer when the national team kicks-off preparations for forthcoming friendly matches.

Okumbi, who is working on interim basis following the exit of Belgium coach Paul Put, will lead Harambee Stars against Comoros and Central African Republic during the Fifa week later this month.

The national team will travel to Morocco for the two build-up matches with controversies surrounding selection of the team.

On Friday, Football Kenya Federation released three squads; the senior men and women’s teams and the U-23 that will play Uzbekistan in a friendly also during the busy Fifa week.

Harambee Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi.

Harambee Starlets will be guided in the friendly against Zambia by Richard Kanyi with junior Rising Stars (U-23) being handled by Mathare United tactician Francis Kimanzi.

It is, however, the senior team whose selection has been thrown under the microscope with the inclusion of Real Oviedo’s midfielder, McDonald Mariga and exclusion of Kenyan Premier League Most Valuable Player, Micahel Madoya, among the top questions being raised.

With only nine appearances in 29 games for the Spanish Segunda Division side, Mariga, who returned to active football late last year, still found favour in the heart of Okumbi, who included the former captain in the 24 man squad.

Another questionable call by Okumbi is the inclusion of Kariobangi Sharks’ goalkeeper Jeff Oyemba, who has only played two league matches this season.

Michael Madoya of Zoo Kericho.

Oyemba made his maiden KPL appearance this season in a 2-1 defeat to Gor Mahia, two weeks ago before doubling the number in Sharks’ 4-1 win over Wazito last weekend.

Despite playing only 180 minutes, Oyemba was preferred for national team duties ahead of Gor Mahia custodian Boniface Oluoch, who has played 360 minutes in the league and three continental matches with the defending champions.

Another big call that may also expose both Kenyan Premier League and FKF is the omission of Zoo Kericho midfielder Madoya.

“MVP did not make a cut to the National team. So who got it wrong? The coaches who voted for the player or who? I believe such a player if he genuinely won it should have been given a call-up.

"Anyway maybe after retiring from football, even my brains retired,” questioned the retired forward, Boniface Ambani.

Kenya midfielder Macdonald Mariga

The omission, whether by default or design, raises further questions whether Madoya really deserved to win the prestigious award last season.

Goalkeepers: Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers), John Oyemba (Kariobangi Sharks) and Faruk Shikalo (Bandari).

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Defenders: Harun Shakava (Gor Mahia), Brian Mandela (Maritzburg United, South Africa), David Ochieng, (IFBrommapojkarna, Sweden), David Owino (Zesco, Zambia) and Abud Omar (Slava Sofia, Bulgaria).

Midfielders: Patilah Omoto (Kariobangi Sharks), Francis Kahata (Gor Mahia), Duncan Otieno (AFC Leopards), Samuel Onyango (Gor Mahia), Athuman Ismael Gonzales (CF Fuenlabrada, Spain), Anthony Akumu (Zesco, Zambia), Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspurs, England), McDonald Mariga (Real Oviedo, Spain), Johanna Omollo (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium), Paul Were (FC Kaisar, Kazakhstan) and Eric Johanna Omondi (IF Brommapojkarna, Sweden).

Forwards: Ayub Timbe (Heilongjiang FC, China), Cliffton Miheso (Buildcon FC, Zambia), Erick Kapaito (Kariobangi Sharks), Jesse Were (Zesco FC, Zambia) and Michael Olunga (Girona FC, Spain).