FKF reports Japanese club to FIFA over failure to release Kenyan striker Michael Olunga

By Gilbert Wandera: Wednesday, June 5th 2019 at 03:30 GMT +3 | Football
Kenya Harambee Stars Michael Olunga (right) and Nicholas Opuk of Ghana during their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Kasarani Stadium on September 8 last year. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) has reported Japanese club Kashiwa Reysol to Fifa over failure to release Kenyan striker Michael Olunga to the national team Harambee Stars camp in France.

The team is preparing for this month’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt.

The federation said Olunga may not just miss the pre-tournament camp in France but there is also fear he may not take part in the tournament itself.

“The Japanese club has gone against Fifa statutes which stipulates that teams are obligated to release their registered players to the representative teams of the country for which the players are eligible to play on the basis of their nationality if they are called up by the association concerned,” said FKF Head of Communications Barry Otieno.

He added: “It is for this reason that the federation has sought Fifa’s intervention even as they engage Reysol on Olunga’s release.”

Otieno said the federation hopes that a decision on the player will be arrived at within the shortest time possible to enable Olunga to link up with the rest of the players.

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“The continued delay in releasing the player by the club is not only greatly jeopardizing our preparations for the final AFCON tournament but is also not good for international football in general,” he added.

The absence of Olunga is no doubt a big worry for Harambee Stars coach Sebastian Migne given the contribution made by the player in helping the team to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals.

Olunga also missed the last qualifying match for Kenya against Ghana’s Black Stars due to injury.

Harambee Stars have so far spent four days into their training camp  France and will have their first test against Madagascar in an international friendly match to be played on June 7 in Paris.

Another friendly match is scheduled for June 15 against Democratic Republic of Congo in Spain.

The team’s camp in France is a nearly full house. All of the players initially called up to the 27-man provisional squad have already checked in, save for Victor Wanyama, who is expected in France later on Tuesday evening.

What Fifa rules say [Fifa.com]

Fifa regulations on the release of players for final competitions, specifically Article 36 Paragraphs 2b) and 5c) if a player is called up, “A player must be released to play in the final competition organised by Fifa or a confederation and held in a period fixed/set in the calendar. In this event, the period of release shall be 14 days.”

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