Kenya/Comoros: Why Olunga 'Could Miss' Harambee Stars-Comoros Showdown

Harambee Stars lead striker Michael Olunga is a major doubt for his team's 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualification double-header clash versus Comoros.

Stars coach Francis Kimanzi is preparing to name his squad that will do duty against the islanders later this month but could be forced to omit the team's star striker because his travel back home from his workplace in Japan is considered risky owing to the spread of the coronavirus.

Kenya will play host to the Islanders in Nairobi on March 25 and then travel to Moroni for the rematch six days later.

After picking two points out of a possible six in their opening two assignments away to Egypt and at home to Togo, Kimanzi and Stars need a win at home against Comoros to keep their hopes of qualifying for the continental showpiece for a successive time alive.

Olunga's probable absence from these games was discussed on Thursday by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president Nick Mwendwa at a Nairobi hotel during the launch of the Odimtaani Nairobi Cup grassroots tournament.

"We have a busy month ahead with Harambee Stars matches coming up even though I am learning that some players will not be available because of the coronavirus matter," explained Mwendwa.

Olunga is already feeling the effects of this deadly virus as matches in Japan's J-League, where he plies his trade with Kashiwa Reysol, were postponed for three weeks following the outbreak of the deadly virus.

At the same time, the Nairobi Cup, sponsored by Odibets to the tune of Sh20 million, will take place over two months up until May 3.

Some 140 teams from the capital have confirmed participation and will tussle it out in this knockout tournament while battling for a Sh1 million cash prize to be shared between the top three teams.

The standout players in the competition including top-scorer and the most valuable player will each be awarded Sh30,000.

"Through this tournament, we hope to harness and foster the immense untapped potential that our grassroots teams have. We take pride in youth development and believe that our brand resonates with the needs of the clubs that are set to participate in this tournament," explained Aggrey Sayi, Odibets country marketing manager.

Former Harambee Stars captain Musa Otieno, as well as Nairobi East and West Branch officials, were present at the launch.

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