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Oliech, Mariga recalled to Stars squad

Harambee Stars coach Bobby Williamson has named former team captain Dennis Oliech and MacDonald Mariga in his provisional squad for next weekend’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Zambia.

Also returning to the team after a long absence is defender Lawrence Olum.

The team is expected to convene at the Nyayo National Stadium this morning where they will begin five days of training for the match.

Kenyan Premier League clubs have meanwhile been called upon to release local based players for this important assignment, with the foreign based players expected in the country within the course of the week.

“At this point, both Kenya and Zambia have an equal chance of winning the match. This is a big match and that is why I have called up experienced players. I really hope they make their presence count,” Williamson said at the weekend.

THIRD WIN

Williamson is looking for only his third win as head coach of the national team, and he is tasked with leading Kenya to first Nations Cup tournament after more than a decade.

This will be the second qualification match for Kenya after they drew 1-1 with Congo Brazzaville in the first round two months ago.

An advanced delegation from Zambia is already in the country to assess local conditions, and the Chipolopolo are expected to arrive in the country on Friday evening.

Referees Mutaz Khairalla, Haitham Ahmed, Mohammed Abdallah Ibrahim and Mohmood Ismael from Sudan have been assigned to officiate the match. The match commissioner will be Asfaw Bergashaw from Ethiopia.

At the same time, Kenyan referees Sylvester Kirwa, Tony Kidiya, Joshua Achila and Israel Mpaima will be in charge of the qualifying match between Burundi and Niger in Burundi on Saturday.

Harambee Stars squad

Goalkeepers: Boniface Oluoch (Gor Mahia), Wycliff Kasaya (Nakumatt), Ian Otieno (Posta Rangers), Arnold Origi (Norway)

Defenders: Harun Shakava (Gor Mahia), EdwinWafula (AFC Leopards), Dennis Odhiambo (Thika United), David Owino (Zambia), Lawrence Olum, (Malaysia) David Ochieng (Saudi Arabia), Brian Mandela (South Africa)

Midfielders: Collins Okoth (Gor Mahia), Bernard Mang’oli (AFC Leopards), Sammy Meja (Thika United), Humphrey Mieno (Tusker), Noah Wafula (Tusker), Johana Otieno (Mathare United), Danson Kago (Tusker) MacDonald Mariga (Italy) Anthony Akumu (Sudan), Victor Wanyama (England), Johanna Omollo (Belgium), Ayub Timbe (Belgium), Clifton Miheso (Finland)

Strikers: Jesse Were (Tusker), Michael Olunga (Gor Mahia) Allan Wanga (Azam, Tanzania), Jacob Keli (Zambia), Dennis Oliech (Saudi Arabia), Paul Were (South Africa)