The SportPesa All-Star team at Kasarani Safaricom Stadium. PHOTO | COURTESYThe SportPesa All-Star team at Kasarani Safaricom Stadium. PHOTO | COURTESY
By CELLESTINE OLILO, @cellie_beckie

The SportPesa All Star team that is scheduled to play Hull City later this month has reported to camp at the Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani.

The 18-man squad is working under the guidance of national team coach Stanley Okumbi and will remain in camp for the next six days before leaving the country for London on Wednesday February 22.

At their first training session on Thursday, all players had reconvened for training except five players from Tusker and Ulinzi Stars who are still committed with their respective clubs preparing for this weekend’s CAF competitions.

Bandari’s David King’atua, who had been named in the travelling squad last month, has withdrawn from the team due to the trials he is currently attending in Sweden, and his position promptly taken up by AFC Leopards forward Samuel Ndung’u.

Posta Rangers duo of Geoffrey Kataka and Patrick Matasi are however a source of worry for coach Okumbi, as they were both unsuccessful in their applications for the UK visa.

QUALITY PLAYERS

The pair reapplied for the crucial travel document on priority basis on Thursday, and are now crossing their fingers in the hope that they receive it before the Wednesday travel date. In the meantime, Gor Mahia’s Boniface Oluoch has been asked to stay on standby should Matasi miss out on the visa a second time.

Describing the mood in camp, veteran midfielder Moses Odhiambo said that the players were excited about the chance to play in Europe, and that they are working on a strategy to ensure the away game makes a positive impact on their individual lives.

“We know that winning is not necessarily the point of this match, but it doesn’t mean that we won’t give our best. We will be representing Kenya and we therefore need to show that we are a team of good quality players,” he said.

Ulinzi Stars duo of John Makwatta and Cliff Kasuti are expected to join the All Stars camp after their Saturday CAF Confederation Cup match against Al Hilal Benghazi, but the Tusker trio of James Situma, David Okello and Allan Wanga will only rejoin camp a day before their Wednesday departure when they jet back from Mauritius.

The friendly match against Hull City will be played on February 27 at the KCOM Stadium in Hull, and the return match has been slated for July this year at Kasarani.