Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has defended his decision to drop FKF Premier League top scorer Benson Omalla from the team that will clash with Iran in an international friendly match on March 28 in Tehran.
This will be the first fixture for Stars since world governing body, Fifa, lifted the suspension it had imposed on Kenya in November 2022.
While many expected the Gor Mahia man, who has so far scored 19 goals in 19 matches this campaign, to make the cut, Firat said it was difficult to choose the former Western Stima striker ahead of captain Michael Olunga and Saudi Arabia-based Masud Juma.
But he said the door is still open to all the players who have been dropped in future assignments.
“We have to plan not for today but also for the future,” said Firat during yesterday’s press conference at Kasarani Stadium.
“To make it clear again, if I wouldn’t have trust in any of the players I wouldn't have called them in camp. No discussion about it. All of them trained well and I was happy about them.”
Apart from Olunga and Masud, who passed a late fitness test to secure a place in the 24-man squad, Kenya Police’s Elvis Rupia and Norway-based Alfred Scriven (IL Hodd) are also set to battle for a starting place in Tehran.
He further revealed the reasons behind Moses Mudavadi (Kakamega Homeboyz) and Collins Shichenje’s (AIK) exclusion from the final squad.
“We told Moses to bring his documents and since he didn't have a passport, he went back home-Kakamega. So everything is simple and clear, if he can't tender these documents I’m not here to wait for everything,” disclosed Firat.
“Sometimes, you people don’t know some of the stories behind these decisions. But believe you me, sometimes it’s as simple as this. We didn’t drop Collin (Shichenje). He had a little injury and we thought we could handle it but it was not possible.”