The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Mang'oli Called Up

Harambee Stars coach Nandwa says midfielder is replacing injured Opiyo in squad.

AFC Leopards midfielder Bernard Mang'oli has been called into the national soccer team Harambee Stars squad that is preparing for this weekend's African Nations championships preliminary round return leg clash against Burundi.

Kenya trail the Swallows 1-0.

Coach James Nandwa said the Leopards playmaker will replace Tusker's Peter Opiyo who has failed to shrug off a nagging ankle injury and has opted out of the team.

"Opiyo has not been able to recover in time from the injury that has dogged him for the last few days. We don't have enough time to wait for it to heal so we have called in Mangoli to take his place," said Nandwa.

Stars have very few days to get their act together before Saturday's encounter and Nandwa admitted they were racing against time to be ready for the crucial tie.

"We have a very tight schedule. We will be training twice a day until match day in order to improve our sharpness and get an understanding of what we need to do against Burundi, " explained Nandwa, who returned to Nairobi after attending his father's funeral in Western Kenya on Saturday.

"We all now have to focus on the task at hand," he said

The coach said that he will be looking to trim down his squad once he gets to see how each player is responding to the high intensity training.

"I want to spend as much time as possible with the players before deciding who will represent us by Wednesday.

Elsewhere, several Kenya Premier League sides have raided the Mombasa based Nationwide One side Admiral FC for players ahead of the KPL kick-off in February.

Admiral team manager Aref Baghazal yesterday revealed six players had been approached.

Speaking at Majengo yesterday, Baghazal said his team had no reservations about losing players and wished them well with their new teams.

"We have no problem whatsoever with the players because we know nurturing their talent to that level was our goal and going to bigger clubs will be mission accomplished on our side. We are a community team so let them go and earn a living elsewhere," said Baghazal.

Home based Bandari have targeted defender Aboud Omar, midfielder Khamis Tole and Liberian Rosevelt Blaty who was ranked the 2012 Nationwide One top scorer last season.

Tusker FC have allegedly gone for Ian Aubure who, according to sources, is already in Tanzania with the team.

Other players wanted players include Kigen Ngugi who is heading to Nationwide side Bidco and Juma Seif Kibonge who is wanted by Tanzania top league club.

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