English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur are embroiled in unpleasant exchanges with Football Kenya Federation (FKF) over the availability of Victor Wanyama for international duty.
Spurs are unwilling to release Wanyama for the crucial assignment owing to medical worries according to a source within FKF.
The federation’s medical team has been in communication with Spurs regarding the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Ghana in Nairobi on Saturday with the English club said to be adamant that Wanyama is not fit to feature for Harambee Stars.
Spurs feel justified to take caution over their prized midfielder who has lately struggled for fitness. Wanyama missed four months of last season and has not started any league game for Tottenham in the new campaign.
Their Kenyan counterpart, however, want the inspirational midfielder since he is not listed among injured Spurs players. Correspondence between FKF and Spurs cast a huge doubt on the English club allowing Wanyama to leave or letting him play even if he travels to Nairobi.
“He is not exactly injured but could be out of form. They are not being very open to us about his injury yet we face a really big game in which his presence would be immense for the country,” said the source who requested anonymity.
Kenya is desperate to revive their qualification for Afcon since 2004 and the skipper’s absence will rob Stars a mental edge they badly need to put their campaign back on track, having lost their only group fixture to minnows Sierra Leone.
Stars coach Sebastian Migne assembled his bloated squad at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies last evening for their first training session although just 21 turned up. Just two foreign-based players trained with the team on Monday but the federation indicated that five were in camp.
The first to arrive was Zambia-based Anthony Akumu who could be called upon to fill Wanyama’s boots if the deliberations between FKF and Spurs fail to grant the star midfielder licence to play.
The other foreign-based player who took part in yesterday’s training was highly-rated Red Arrow’s goalkeeper Ian Otieno. Otieno has carved out a career in Zambia and kept 13 clean sheets so far, attracting plaudits from veteran Arnold Origi.
Migne is expecting a full house today after which he will trim the squad to a workable number tomorrow from whence he can start inculcating tactical discipline ahead of Saturday.
Ghana are group favourites and named a talented squad devoid of the Ayew brothers Andrew and Jordan as well as Asamoah Gyan, sparking controversy in the West African nation.