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Could this be the end of Victor Wanyama’s stint with Harambee Stars?

FOOTBALL By Washington Onyango and Rodgers Eshitemi | August 21st 2021 | 2 min read

 

Harambee Stars Victor Wanyama appeals to the referee during a match against DRC Congo at Kasarani Stadium. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama is facing an unlikely future with the national team after he was overlooked once again during the naming of the provisional squad for the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers yesterday.

Kenya are set to play Uganda and Rwanda in their opening two World Cup qualifiers fixtures next month and Jacob Mulee shocked stakeholders and fans once again by omitting Wanyama in the 36-man provisional squad.

This is the second time in a row that Mulee is leaving the experienced Wanyama out of his squad.

Wanyama, who captains Montréal FC which plays in the Major Soccer League in the US was not included in the team that faced Egypt and Togo in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, where Kenya were eliminated.

The last time Wanyama featured for Kenya was in the 202 AFCON qualifiers played in November last year against Comoros which Harambee Stars lost 2-1.

In his absence Mulee handed the armband to the Al Duhail SC striker Michael Olunga as he continued with his rebuilding process.

While Mulee has retained the attacking tri of Eric Kapaito (Kariobangi Sharks), Elvis Rupia (AFC Leopards) and Morocco-based Masud Juma, it is the omission of players like Simba SC defender Joash Onyango, Mamelodi Sundowns defender Brian Mandela and Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Anthony Akumu that has generated debate on social media. 

Kenyans further questioned the inclusion of two goalkeepers from Kariobangi Sharks Brian Bwire and Brandon Obiero at the expense of the in-form Gor Mahia custodian Gad Mathews.

However, with over 60 caps to his name for the national team, Wanyama’s fate with Stars is hanging in the balance with Mulee saying he trust in the players he named.

“This is a strong group of players, we have a superb blend of experience, youth, ability, and personalities. This is a group of players who have what it takes to start well against Uganda and go all the way,” Mulee said of his squad.

In a past interview with Standard Sports about Wanyama’s exclusion, Mulee said: “It is not about replacing someone but their ability to play at the top level. We are slowly but surely trying to build a team for the future.”

Serbia-based Richard Odada, FC Talanta’s Enock Momanyi and Bandari’s Siraj Mohammed (Bandari) are the players who have earned their maiden call up to the national team.

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