The Nation (Nairobi)

Kenya: Papers Score Against Wanga

Nairobi — Harambee Stars' striker Allan Wanga's dream of playing in the Europa League for the Azerbaijani first division club Baku FC has aborted.

The deal turned sour after the Harambee Stars player failed to obtain a work permit. The former striker with Angolan side Petro Atletico was a free agent having worked out his two-year contract which ended on December 31, 2009.

In January, he signed a two-year deal with the Azerbaijan club. And at the same time, Kenya has dropped two more places in the latest Fifa rankings released on Wednesday.

Ranked 113th in May, the country is now on 115, one place lower than Tanzania (113) and two under Rwanda (112). Uganda are the best ranked East African side at 70, having gone three ranks up the table.

Quite devastating

"It's quite devastating, man. I had high hopes of playing in the Europa League after we failed to secure a Champions League slot at the end of the league," Wanga said on Wednesday.

The club has been pursuing a work permit in order to have the top scorer in the Kenyan league in 2007-2008 season play in the former Soviet republic but last week Wanga's agent informed him that they were time-barred for the application and that he will now have to wait for the transfer window in January.

"I am disappointed because the work permit is something that I can't do anything about. Getting so close and not obtaining it is, indeed, disappointing. But it's not the end of the world," said a dejected Wanga.

His father, former AFC Leopards striker Frank Wetende, was equally disappointed at the turn of events, saying: "Allan would surely have done well in Baku. He has the ability to play even in the Premier League."

Wetende was a top scorer from 1979 to 1982 while playing for Motcom and Kisumu Posta.Wanga had spent time at his first target, Armenian champions Punyik FC, who had intended to sign him up in July but failed to agree a fee with Petro Atletico.

It is while in Armenia that he was seconded to Baku, who were on the market looking for a striker. Baku are the Azerbaidjani champions.

Eyeing Europe

"I decided to go to Europe after my two-year contract in Angola ended. I'm eyeing a move to England or France and maybe get a chance to play in the Champions League," Wanga had said in an earlier interview.

Wanga has since joined Kenyan Premier League champions Sofapaka "on a three-month stint, just to keep fit as I wait for the January transfer window".

Petro Athletico, the Angolan league champions, signed the Kenyan from Tusker FC in 2008 season for $60,000 (Sh4.6 million) and he had been their key player. The club has five players in the national team.

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