Retired Kenyan footballer Musa Otieno has underscored the need of the current Harambee Stars players giving support to the Head Coach Sebastien Migne if the team is to prevail at both the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and the Africa Nations Championships (CHAN) qualifier.
Otieno was non-committal on the contentious issue of the players Migne selected for both duties, adding that it’s the discretion of the tactician to decide who needs to be in the national team.
Left out of squad
Former Stars’ striker and also captain Dennis Oliech who was with Otieno in the same team, the last time Kenya featured in the continental showcase in 2004, however, had a different opinion, saying Zesco United striker Jesse Were deserved to be in the team set to leave for Morocco for a pre-tournament camp on May 31.
Kenyans have been having different opinions since Migne named his provisional side on Tuesday, some questioning how he could leave out Were out of the squad despite the fact that the former Tusker and Mathare United striker had been constantly winning the golden boot at Zesco United in the Zambian league, in favour of Masoud Juma and Ovella Ochieng who have been lacking playing times in their teams.
“The coach is the boss of the team and it is him who knows which player is good and who is not but the bottom line lies on togetherness amongst the playing unit which is key to good performance in both competitions,” said Otieno.
Otieno, who captained Stars the last time they featured in AFCON in 2004 in Tunisia, gave plaudits to the players for qualifying to the biannual event after a 15 year wait.
France for camping
During the competition in which Stars was under the tutelage of Jacob “Ghost” Mulee, the team managed to hold onto its own despite losing to Africa football giants Senegal and Mali.
In the last preliminary match, Stars managed to beat a comparatively stronger Stallions of Burkina Faso to bow out of the completion with dignity.
In the meantime, Otieno said the idea of Football Kenya Federation (FKF) taking Stars to France for camping was well thought out given the rigors of both CHAN and AFCON and CHAN qualifiers.
In a related development, former Kenya Football Federation (KFF) national treasurer Noordinne Taib also said Were should have been summoned for national duty.
“If Migne (Sebastien) has called up foreign-based players who have not been known to score for their European clubs, what was the logic of omitting Were? ,” he posed.
Taib, who is also the Lang’ata Kiko Cup founder, further said that goalkeeper Ian Otieno who plies his trade with Red Arrows in Zambia has also come of age to play in AFCON or CHAN.
“Otieno has been tried and tested as compared to some of the goalkkepers that were summoned for duty and ought to have been named for AFCON if not CHAN,” said Taib.