•Brian Bwire. The Kariobangi Sharks custodian according to the federation pulled out of the team "due to an injury he has sustained on his hip"
•Coach Francis Kimanzi has also handed a late call to Bandari sensation, Mohamed Katana
Kenyan Premier League top-scorer Timothy Otieno of Tusker is the latest inclusion to the preliminary Harambee Stars squad ahead of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup that kicks off in Uganda this weekend.
Otieno has rediscovered his goal-scoring touch, netting six times already this season as the brewers position themselves as the greatest challengers to champions Gor Mahia's pursuit of an unprecedented fourth successive Kenyan topflight title.
Goal-scoring goalkeeper Samuel 'Abawa' Odhiambo, makes a return to the national fold after resuscitating his career with Western Stima. The burly shot-stopper will replace Cecafe U20 Championships' best goalkeeper Brian Bwire. The Kariobangi Sharks custodian, according to the Football Kenya Federation, pulled out of the team 'due to an injury he has sustained on his hip.'
Coach Francis Kimanzi has also handed a late call to Bandari sensation, Mohamed Katana. Katana, alongside Ulinzi Stars goal-getter Oscar Wamalwa and Western Stima revelation Benson Omala are among a handful of players who will be vying for a first-ever chance to wear the senior national colours.
Meanwhile, Team Manager Ronny Oyando revealed that the player to skipper Kenya at the regional tournament will be known by the end of the week before the team departs for Kampala.
"The captain will be appointed at the end of the week when the final team has been named," Oyando said.
Gor Mahia duo of club captain Kenneth Muguna and his vice Joash Onyango will be front runners to wear the Stars armband. Veteran winger Kevin Kimanzi of Mathare United is another likely candidate for the position. The experienced wide-man has been recalled to the national squad after impressive performances for the Slum Boys. Versatile Kariobangi Sharks defender Samuel Olwande is another option for Kiamnzi and his coaching staff.
Kenya has been pooled in Group C alongside Tanzania, Djibouti, and Zanzibar, and will be looking to defend the title they won in December 2017, in Machakos.
Group A is comprised of hosts Uganda, Burundi, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, while Group B will pit guest team DR Congo against Sudan, South Sudan, and Somalia.
The top two teams in each group, as well as two best losers from the three groups, will proceed to the tournament’s quarterfinal.