Harambee Stars preparation for this weekend's African Nations Championships (CHAN) preliminary round return leg clash against Burundi suffered a slight setback after winger Paul Were ruled himself out of the tie due to illness.
The AFC Leopards player, who missed out on the first leg again due to family issues, said he has been unwell for the past few weeks and he finished his medication on Tuesday after contracting Malaria.
"I have been down with Malaria though I have now recovered. I however, do not think I am in the right physical condition to be able to return to camp and be fit for the weekend match," said the 23-year-old left winger.
Coach James Nandwa, however, was still holding onto the possibility of the player joining the team at their residential camp in Kasarani, admitting that he had informed them albeit belatedly of his illness.
"Were has told us he is unwell but we expect him in camp in the afternoon (yesterday) so that we can ascertain his condition and decide on the way forward," stated Nandwa. Were's withdrawal paves way for Thika United play maker Francis
Kahata or his teammate Clifton Miheso to clinch the starting position on the left side of Kenya's attack in the match against the Burundians. Stars lost 1-0 to Burundi in their first leg in Bujumbura a fortnight ago.
Nandwa was adamant that should Were be ruled out completely, he will not call up any other player to replace him for the tie against the Swallows.
"We have very little time before the match and therefore it will not be a good idea to call another player right now. The players we have in camp should be able to do a job for us against Burundi," opined Nandwa.
Other players to have withdrawn from the Stars camp include Tusker midfielder Peter Opiyo through injury as well as Sofapaka defender James Situma who was injured in the first leg in Bujumbura. Gor's Rama Salim has also excluded himself as he is reportedly headed for trials in the middle East
The trio have since been replaced by Bernard Mang'oli, David Ownino and Mike Barasa respectively. The match is slated for Sunday at the Nyayo Stadium with the tickets set to go on sale from tomorrow.