Oliech dropped as captain a day before Stars fly out to Malawi as coach defends Shisha-smoking Jamal Mohammed

Dennis Oliech acknowledges greetings from fans during the Harambee Stars versus Nigeria Match on Wednesday. [Photo: Stafford Odengo/Standrd]

By Gilbert Wandera

 Ajaccio striker Dennis Oliech has been dropped as the national team Harambee Stars captain a day before the team depart for Malawi for their June 14 World Cup qualifier.

Oliech, who was appointed skipper two years ago, will be permanently replaced by Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama.

Stars coach Adel Amrouche said yesterday the decision to appoint Wanyama is now permanent as he lauded the creative midfielder as a disciplined player.

“He (Wanyama) was appointed stand-in captain by the rest of his players, but I want to say that it remains permanent. He has proved he deserves it with his good example on and off the pitch. He is professional player who comes for training on time and has the respect of all the players,” he said.
Amrouche further said he is beginning to build a new team and will do so around Wanyama.

“We must start looking at the future and build with new players and Wanyama represents that future,” he added.
Oliech has conspicuously been missing from camp since he arrived in the country two weeks ago. Though he was expected to turn in training on Thursday this he never did.

But even as Wanyama was handed the armband, he will not feature in the June 14 clash against Malawi after picking an injury against Nigeria last Wednesday.

“Wanyama has asked for time off to heal and we respect his quest. We will miss him, but must allow him time to get well so that nothing interferes with his career,” said Amrouche.

Meanwhile, Amrouche has dropped striker Kepha Aswani from the final squad travelling to Blantyre.

Also dropped is Ulinzi Stars striker Stephen Waruru who, like Aswani, was a letdown against Nigeria on Wednesday.

Gor Mahia striker Paul Kiongera and AFC Leopards winger Paul Were both of whom were late call-ups have been retained in the travelling party.

“Waruru and Aswani had a chance to prove themselves against Nigeria but failed. We cannot give them another chance since this is the national team and when one gets an opportunity you have to prove yourself,” Amrouche explained.

Caught on camera

Travelling Squad: Duncan Ochieng’, Wilson Obungu, Jerim Onyango, Brian Mandela, Mulinge Ndetto, David Owino, David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng, Peter Opiyo, Musa Mohammed, Paul Were, Ali Mbai, Paul Kiongera, Patrick ‘Armando’ Osiako and Jamal Mohammed.

Others are Joackins Atudo, Edwin Lavasta, Edwin Wafula, Francis Kahata, Andrew Murunga, Dennis Oliech, Victor Wanyama and David Gateri.

Separately, Amrouche has said he will not take disciplinary action against midfielder Jamal Mohammed, who was caught on camera puffing at ‘Shisha’ three days before Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier against Nigeria.

Amrouche has also denied reports that the player spent the night out of camp on Sunday, insisting that all players came back at the time they were required.