•This is after the Japan J1 league and the Levian Cup were suspended till mid-March as a precautionary measure to the fast-spreading Coronavirus epidemic
•With Stars lined to host Comoros on March 25 in the third qualifier match, Kimanzi is worried that the development will dent Olunga’s hot form after the striker grabbed a brace and an assist in their opening league match against Consadole Sapporo en-route to their 4-2 win
Harambee Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi wants Michael Olunga to be released by his J1 club, Kashiwa Reysol ahead of the for the forthcoming 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
Kimanzi said he is contemplating writing to the Japanese side through the Football Kenya Federation to have the striker released once the local-based players report to camp.
This comes after the Japan J1 league and the Levian Cup were suspended till mid-March as a precaution measure to the fast-spreading Coronavirus epidemic
With Stars lined up to host Comoros on March 25 in the third qualifier match, Kimanzi is worried that the development will dent Olunga’s hot form after the striker grabbed a brace and an assist in their opening league match against Consadole Sapporo en-route to their 4-2 win.
Reysol plies their trade in the affected league and Kimanzi is hoping that the federation will pursue the option of shipping in the former Gor Mahia man earlier than normal schedule.
Kimanzi, who will be eyeing his first win in the qualifiers after sharing spoils with Egypt and Togo in the opening two matches, said their wish was also based on player safety but conceded that it may not see the light of the day.
“We are waiting for official communication from the club concerning the suspension of the league and how they will go on with their training schedules.
"Three weeks is long for the player to be deprived of competitive action and if they can agree to release him earlier, we would be glad to assess him and train with the local-based players.
"The break may affect his fitness and form ahead of the crucial qualifier even though we understand their training schedules may not be affected,” he said
The former Mathare United tactician is in the meantime hoping that players bearing dual citizenship and who ply their trade abroad will bite the bullet and accept their invitation to play for Stars.
The federation is expected to convince a handful of players to feature for Stars, among them are Handwalla Bwana, Tobias Ndung’u, Philips Mwene, Joshua Lelan, Linton Maina, Jonah Ayunga, Alwyn Tera and Clarke Oduor.
“We have been hoping that players with dual citizenship will decide to play for Kenya. It is another possibility we are pursuing and hopefully, we will persuade one or two to honour our invitation for the qualifiers,” he added.