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We'll do our best against Cranes, Olunga declares

FOOTBALL By Rodgers Eshitemi | September 7th 2019 | 2 min read
Michael Olunga speaks to Farouk Shikalo during their training session at Kasarani stadium on September 5, 2019 [Courtesy]

Stand-in Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga is ready to lead from the front when the national team clash with Uganda Cranes in tomorrow’s international friendly match at Kasarani Stadium.

The Japan-based goal-poacher will wear the armband in the absence of Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama.

“It is going to be a difficult game and our first match under the new coach (Francis Kimanzi). But we are psyched up and ready to give our best. Since I’ve been in the national team from 2015, I think as a player it is my responsibility to step up and fill the void left by our captain Wanyama,” Olunga said.

“There are a lot of young players coming into the team, we’ve experienced players who’ve not reported due to one reason or the other. I will try to lead by example tomorrow, try to give my level best and hunt for the goals.”

Both Kenya and Uganda will be using the friendly to prepare for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers in November.

Uganda arrived in the country yesterday ahead of the friendly tomorrow.

Meanwhile, it is third time unlucky for Kakamega Homeboyz winger Moses Mudavadi after he was forced to withdraw from the national team because of a groin injury.

Mudavadi had been recalled by coach Kimanzi to the team that is preparing for tomorrow’s international friendly against the Uganda Cranes only for him to be ruled out with injury.

The 25-year old joins Zambian-based striker Jesse Were, Cercle Brugge midfielder Johanna Omollo and Wazito defender Bernard Ochieng in the treatment room.

Mudavadi has endured a torrid past five years with injuries, bad luck and lack of proper travel documents forcing him to pull out of the national team squads.

He was handed his first national team (Kenya U20) call up in 2013 ahead of the COSAFA U20 championships in Lesotho, but he could not go because he lacked travel documents.

It was the same scenario in 2017 when former Harambee Stars coach Stanley Okumbi drafted Mudavadi in his 30-man provisional squad for friendlies against Mauritania and Togo but lack of a passport meant he could not travel.

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