The Star (Nairobi)

14 November 2012

Kenya/Uganda: Nandwa On Call?

Kenya national Under 23 coach James Nandwa is set to take charge of the national team to the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup tournament kicking off in Uganda on November 24.

This is after Harambee Stars head coach Henri Michel reiterated his earlier stance that he is not keen on taking part in the tournament and is instead focusing his eyes on the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Nigeria in March.

"We have our priorities and we are going to stick with them, Cecafa is not of significance to me," the coach said after the teams last training session at Nairobi City Stadium on Monday.

Michel however, admitted Stars face an uphill task to get out of their group after they were pooled alongside hosts and defending champions Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania in Uganda.

"On paper it looks a tough group but wait until we see the actual results," he said. Cecafa secretary general Nicholas Musonye has in the past urged Kenya to prove their worth in the tournament instead of trying to undermine it.

"The only way Kenya can prove they are above playing in the Cecafa is by winning the tournament then everybody would understand their decision to hold it in such unwarranted low regard," he advised.

Meanwhile Stars left for Tanzania yesterday for a friendly with the hosts this afternoon. The team were without Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama who requested to be omitted as well as goalkeeper Arnold Origi whose Norway based team had a match on Sunday.

"We would have loved to have them here but we want to create a good relationship with their clubs so that in future they will be willing to release them for more serious matches," Michel said when asked why the duo did not honour their call up. The coach said this was an opportunity for other players to show their ability in the friendly and put forward their case for inclusion in the long term.

Tanzanian based midfielder Jerry Santos and Ulinzi Stars custodian Jacktone Odhiambo replaced the two. RC Genk striker Ayub Timbe will link up with the team in Mwanza from his Belgium base.

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