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Firat calls up Gonzalez, Shikalo, Omar, for Mali date

Ovella Ochieng and David ‘Calabar’ Owino are among the surprise call-ups to the squad named by new Kenyan coach Engin Firat ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup qualification double-header versus Mali.

In total, Firat has named 34-players to his squad to train for six days before the first game away to the West African giants.

But Victor Wanyama who recently announced his international retirement, and Masoud Juma who is thought to be injured, misses out.

Other players recalled by Firat ahead of his debut at the touchline are goalkeeper Farouk Shikalo Greek’s AEL Larisa left back Abud Omar, Simba SC defender Joash ‘Berlin Wall’ Onyango,  and Spain-based midfielder Ismael Gonzalez

Stars will face Mali away on October 6 before hosting the West Africans at Nyayo National Stadium on October 12.

The group also has East African neighbours Uganda and Rwanda.

Ochieng receives the call up despite not playing competitively for close to a year.

Some of the new faces in the team include Philip Mayaka (Colorado Rapids, USA), Keagan Ndemi (Bandari) and Erick Zakayo (Tusker).

Kenya is currently second in the group on two points. Under former coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee, Harambee Stars played out to a barren draw against Uganda on September 2 before settling for a 1-1 draw away to Amavubi Stars three days later.

Goalkeepers: Ian Otieno (Zesco, Zambia), Faruk Shikhalo (KMC, Tanzania), James Saruni (Ulinzi Stars), Brian Bwire (Tusker)

Defenders: Joseph Stanley Okumu (KAA Gent, Belgium), Joash Onyango (Simba, Tanzania), David Odhiambo (Napsa, Zambia), Samuel Olwande (Kariobangi Sharks), Johnstone Omurwa (Wazito), Eugene Asike (Tusker), Frank Odhiambo (Gor Mahia), Daniel Sakari (Tusker), David Owino (KCB), Abud Omar (AEL Larisa, Greece), Eric Ouma (AIK, Sweden), Bolton Omwenga (Kagera Sugar, Tanzania)

Midfielders: Richard Odada (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia), Lawrence Juma (Sofapaka), Patila Omoto (Kariobangi Sharks), Ismael Gonzalez (Real Murcia, Spain), Kenneth Muguna (Azam, Tanzania), Duke Abuya (Nkana, Zambia), Keagan Ndemi (Bandari), Boniface Muchiri (Tusker), Regean Otieno (KCB), Erick Zakayo (Tusker), Ovella Ochieng (Marumo Gallants, South Africa), Philip Mayaka (Colorado Rapids, USA), Musa Masika (Wazito), Abdallah Hassan (Bandari)

Forwards: Michael Olunga (Al-Duhail, Qatar), Henry Meja (Tusker, Kenya), Sydney Lokale (Kariobangi Sharks), Erick Kapaito (Kariobangi Sharks, Kenya)