Last updated 9 months ago | By Rodgers Eshitemi
Kenyan Premier League has postponed matches involving record champions Gor Mahia, Ulinzi Stars and Mathare United to allow their players feature for national team Harambee Stars in the 2019 Cecafa Senior Challenge.
The regional tournament, which has attracted nine teams, will kick off tomorrow in Kampala, Uganda with two Group A matches on the card.
Djibouti will take on Somalia in the opening match of the tournament followed by a fixture pitting Burundi against Uganda Cranes. Defending champions Kenya will battle with their Group B rivals Tanzania on Sunday as Zanzibar tackle Sudan.
League leaders Gor have four players in the national team. They are Lawrence Juma, Clifton Miheso, Kenneth Muguna, and Joash Onyango.
Ulinzi Stars have Oscar Wamalwa, Timothy Odhiambo and Elvis Nandwa, while Mathare United’s trio of David Owino, Kevin Kimani and Roy Okal have also been named in the provisional team.
Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi is expected to name his final 20-man squad today morning before departing to Kampala later in the evening.
As per Football Kenya Federation rules; “If a club a has more than two players in the national team, the fixtures involving such a club maybe called off three days before and three days after the national team’s engagement if it is to be played in Kenya and maybe called off three days before departure and three days after return from an engagement outside Kenya.”
Thus Gor Mahia matches against Kisumu All Stars (December 7) and Sofapaka (December 11) same us those involving Mathare United against AFC Leopards and Nzoia Sugar, Ulinzi Stars against Zoo and Chemelil Sugar have all been postponed.
KPL Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda said: “We effected those changes on Tuesday to pave way for the Cecafa Senior Challenge tournament. That means while other teams will be on a break, the three teams will be in action honouring their catch up matches.”
Gor Mahia, Mathare and Ulinzi are expected to return action on December 22 for their catch-up fixtures against All-Stars, AFC Leopards and Zoo respectively as other teams take a festive season break.
Though Tusker has three players (Hillary Wandera, Luke Namanda, and Timothy Otieno) in the provisional squad, the brewers have decided to go on with their fixtures starting with today’s 1:30 pm tie against struggling Kariobangi Sharks at Kasarani Stadium.
Tusker, who will be aiming to extend their unbeaten run to six games, are four points (21) shy off leaders Gor Mahia.
The other fixture today will see Wazito make a trip to Mombasa to face off with Bandari at 2 pm.