Africa Cup of Nations qualifier: Wanyama to join team hours before match

Harambee stars' Victor wanyama during their Africa Cup of Nation Qualifier match against Zambia at Nyayo stadium on Sep.6 2015.[PHOTO:DENNIS OKEYO/STANDARD]

Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama will join the team just hours before today’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea Bissau.

This is after the Southampton midfielder missed his connecting flight to Bissau on Monday evening which left him stranded in Morocco for the whole night.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) chairman Nick Mwendwa said Wanyama was delayed at Heathrow following an air strike by Air France.

“He was supposed to link up with Arnold Origi and Johanna Omollo in Marrakech, Morocco for their onward flight to Bissau, but he arrived after the plane had left. Efforts are being made to re-route him through Senegal to land here on Wednesday (today) morning,” he said.

Omollo and Origi together with Michael Olunga joined the team on Tuesday.

The Zambia based trio of Jesse Were, David ‘Calabar’ Owino and Teddy Akumu jetted into Bissau at noon yesterday with South Africa-based defender Brian Mandela expected to link up with the team later in the day.

Former Harambee Stars coach Jacob Mulee expressed concern that the late arrival of Wanyama might affect his performance.

Mulee who was in charge when the team qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals in 2004 said: “The fact that he is travelling alone may disturb him mentally. If he was with the rest of the team then he would manage to bear with the situation but as it is it may affect his out-put.”

He added: “However, he is an experienced player who should be able to overlook this discomfort.

“Furthermore, he has just resumed playing after a long lay-off and had a good match against Liverpool at the weekend which should motivate him to carry the team.”

Former FKF chairman Sam Nyamweya also expressed concern over the delay experienced by Wanyama to join the national team.

“Travelling in West Africa is always challenging. I remember there was a time Harambee Stars were stranded for seven days waiting for a flight. I hope he is able to make it before the match,” he said.

Elsewhere Mulee has said the team faces a tough task away to Guinea Bissau.

Mulee said playing in West Africa has never been an easy assignment.

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