•Brian Mandela and Christopher Mbamba were confirmed unfit hence were locked out of the final team
•The former Gor man was dropped alongside Portugal-based winger Clifton Miheso
Experienced Zesco United holding midfielder Anthony ‘Teddy’ Akumu headlined the four axed players as Harambee Stars coach Sebastien Migne unveiled his final 23-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
The versatile Zambian-based midfielder was a surprise omission from the final list as his wealth of continental football and ability to play as a centre half was deemed as a guarantee for him to make the cut but faced the wrath of the axe as Migne opted for three holding midfielders.
The former Gor man was dropped alongside Portugal-based winger Clifton Miheso while the duo of Brian Mandela and Christopher Mbamba were confirmed unfit hence were locked out of the final team.
Mandela hurt his knee on Monday while in training but Migne’s choice of including Mbamba to the team was heavily questioned as it emerged that he made it to the provisional team while ferrying an ankle injury.
The Swedish-based forward eased to the 27-man squad which has been camping in France but while naming the final squad yesterday, it appeared that the technical bench summoned him aware of the injury he picked up in his last match before checking into camp. His move to name unattached forward Masoud Juma in the team and Sweden-based winger Ovella Ochieng was also criticised with the duo’s being linked with their former club Kariobangi Sharks.
Ovella was billed as a flop when he failed to sparkle during the qualifiers and in the U-23 team which was bundled out of the Olympic qualifiers by Sudan and the U-20 team which failed to eliminate Rwanda in last year’s Afcon qualifiers. Fans expressed anger with what they termed as a plot to rush the winger to the senior team and the forthcoming tournament to decorate his Kenyan International status hence have his value shoot up undeservedly.
Migne retained assistant captain and centre half Musa Mohammed and left back Abud Omar despite habouring slight knocks suffered in last week’s friendly match against Madagascar.
As a precaution measure, two defenders are unlikely to play when Stars take on DR Congo this weekend in their final friendly fixture set for Madrid Spain.
Meanwhile, the Frenchman demonstrated his faith with local-based players as nine who turn in the Kenyan Premier League as he squeezed their names in the final team.Gor Mahia trio of Joash Onyango, Francis Kahata and Philemon Otieno led other six local-based players to seal slots in the team.
Others are Vihiga United skipper Bernard Ochieng, Bandari first choice goalkeeper Farouk Shikalo, Sofapaka midfielders duo of John Avire and Dennis Odhiambo, AFC Leopards winger Paul Were and Kariobangi Sharks goalkeeper John Oyemba. Stars will jet to Egypt on June 19 five days before their opening match of the tournament against Algeria.
Final Afcon squad—Goalkeepers: Patrick Matasi, John Oyemba, Farouk Shikalo; Defenders: Philemon Otieno, Abud Omar, Bernard Ochieng, Musa Mohammed, Joash Onyango, Joseph Okumu, David Owino, Eric Ouma: Midfielders: Victor Wanyama, Dennis Odhiambo, Erick Johanna, Ayub Timbe, Francis Kahata, Ismael Gonzalez, Ovella Ochieng, Paul Were, Johanna Omollo; Forwards: Masoud Juma, Michael Olunga, John Avire.