17 January 2017

Kenya: KPL Stars Chase Slots in Squad for Hull City Friendly

Photo: Tonny Omondi/Daily Nation
Hull City head of development coach Richard Naylor speaks to journalists at Moi Stadium in Kisumu.

Harambee Stars striker Allan Wanga and newly acquired AFC Leopards shot-stopper Gabriel Andika are bullish of making the final 18-man SportPesa All Stars squad which will travel to the United Kingdom next month to play English Premier League outfit Hull City in a friendly match at the KCOM Stadium.

Wanga and Andika are part of the 47-man squad currently in a two-week residential camp at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani preparing for the friendly game.

The 47-man squad was selected last November by a team of Hull City coaches who travelled to Kenya for two weeks and watched various training sessions, league matches as well as the two Harambee Stars friendly matches against Liberia and Mozambique in Nairobi.

The squad will undergo an intense two-week training after which it will be whittled down to 18, and Wanga and Andika are relishing the challenge that comes with fighting for the slots.

"This is a big opportunity for me. I'm glad and excited to be part of the squad. The challenge is to now work hard and hopefully be in the final squad," the soft spoken Andika, who starred between the goalposts for Western Stima last term as they cinched a sixth place before sealing a move to Ingwe last month.

"I'm thankful to God for this opportunity but I have to do what it takes to impress the coaches."

On the other hand, Wanga who played a phenomenal role in Tusker's remarkable run last term that culminated in the brewers claiming a rare season double - winning the league title and the GOtv Shield - is also upbeat of making the team.

Wanga added that playing at the KCOM Stadium is a huge challenge but wants to be part of history: "I'll give it my best shot to ensure that I make the trip."

"To me, it's also special because a number of kids look up to me and as a role model, I have to do well to inspire them. The secret is to be disciplined, work hard and above all, be prayerful."

The friendly match is part of a deal agreed upon by the Tigers and SportPesa when they signed a three-year deal last year making the betting firm their shirts sponsors.

Speaking at the same venue, SportPesa Chief Executive Officer Ronald Karauri said the move is aimed at developing football in the country.

"Since the new federation took over, there are a number of changes taking place and through our partnership with them and with Hull City, we aim to continue with these ventures and make it an annual event," Karauri said.

FKF chief Nick Mwendwa and KPL CEO Jack Oguda also graced the event.

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