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Stars preps key

Onsika backs Harambee Stars to reach second round

In Summary

•Onsika said the team has no excuse now that the government has released money for preparations. 

•He said some foreign-based players do not deserve a place in the team because the coach rarely monitors their progress.

Cliff Nyakeya,David Owino,Duke Abuya and Joash Onyango walk onto the pitch in past training
Cliff Nyakeya,David Owino,Duke Abuya and Joash Onyango walk onto the pitch in past training

Former International Elijah Onsika has backed the national team, Harambee Stars to reach the second round of the Africa Cup of Nations next month.

Onsika, a former national youth coach said with proper preparations, the team can pull a surprise in Egypt. Harambee Stars are returning to the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 15 years.

“I’m happy the government has released money for preparations. The coach and the boys have no excuse,” he added.

The team is set to camp in France as from May 31 for 19 days at the French Rugby Federation Mascoussis Cedex before departing for Egypt on June 19 for the continental showpiece. The team is set to play against Madagascar and the Gambia while in France.

Onsika further noted that some foreign-based players do not deserve a place in the team because the coach rarely monitors their progress. He joined calls for the inclusion of Zesco United striker Jesse Were in the Egypt bound squad. Onsika also wants Ulinzi Stars goalkeeper James Saruni included in the team.

“Were has done well in the Zambian Premier League and CAF Champions League. "He should be included in the team and I believe it’s not too late.

"Saruni despite his team not doing very well also merits a slot in the team,” added the Kisii University coach.

In Egypt, Kenya will start their campaign against Algeria on June 23 and will be up against neighbours Tanzania on June 27 before concluding the group stage matches against Senegal on July 1.

Onsika, however, questioned the independence of the coach in naming the team,  saying players from teams in Nyanza and Western deserved to be in the provisional squad which was named this week.

“Sony Sugar, Western Stima, Kakamega Homeboyz, Kisumu All-Stars and Shabana have players who deserve a place in Chan team that will play a qualifier against Burundi. They should be given a chance,” he said.