UPDATE Tuesday, October 6: The international friendly match between Harambee Stars and Zambia’s Chipolopolo on Friday at Nyayo National Stadium will be played behind closed doors, Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa has confirmed.
And having vowed to fully adhere to coronavirus protocols, the federation has put plans in place for the 4pm match to be beamed live on Star Times TV, their new broadcasting partners.
“We are back for the first time in many months. This is a big job because we need to get the players fit and ready. But generally, I’m happy football is back and Nyayo is also back after three years,” commented Mwendwa after gracing Harambee Stars training session at Kasarani Stadium on Monday.
“For taking extra precautions, we decided not to have fans for this game. We know that athletics had 2,000 fans, but you know with football when a goal goes in, the celebration is mad and we don’t know how we will behave with that.
The Ministry of Health has given the green light for Friday’s international friendly match between Harambee Stars and Zambia’s Chipolopolo to proceed at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani.
The fate of the match was still hanging in the balance despite local- based players having reported to camp yesterday.
Health Chief Administrative Secretary Rashid Aman on Monday, October 5 made the announcement during the daily COVID-19 press briefing, adding that the Football Kenya Federation should ensure all COVID-19 containment and preventive measures are adhered to.
“This matter came to the Ministry and their plans are on track. They have been given concurrence bt both the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of Health provided they stick to the protocols that have been provided for the opening up of sports of this nature,” CAS Aman revealed.
Harambee Stars players set into camp on Sunday where they had to undergo COVID-19 tests and will stay at a bio-secure environment at the Safari Park hotel and train at the Kasarani Stadium.
The Federation has already released the final squad for the friendly match.
Timothy Otieno and Francis Kahata are the latest foreign-based players to join their local-based players in the residential camp.
Skipper Victor Wanyama, Michael Olunga, Arnold Origi, Ayub Timbe and Johanna Omollo will not be available for the friendly due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The experienced players were part of the 34-man provisional squad released by coach Francis Kimanzi who will use the match to gauge his readiness for the November qualifier double against Comoros.
The Kenyan team will be hoping to make a flying start to action after a long absence occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Confirmed Harambee Stars squad list:
Goalkeepers: Ian Otieno (Zesco United, Zambia), Timothy Odhiambo (Ulinzi)
Defenders: Brian Mandela (Unattached), Johnstone Omurwa (Wazito, Kenya), Joash Onyango (Simba, Tanzania), Joseph Okumu (Elfsborg, Sweden), Clarke Oduor (Barnsley), David Owino (Mathare United), Philemon Otieno (Gor), Badi Baraka (KCB)
Midfielders: Kenneth Muguna (Gor), Francis Kahata (Simba, Tanzania), Eric Johanna (Jonkoping’s Sodra IF, Sweden), Cliff Nyakeya (Masr FC, Egypt), Antony Akumu (Kaiser Chief, South Africa), Hassan Abdallah (Bandari), Lawrence Juma (Gor ), Katana Mohamed (Isloch, Belarus), Austin Otieno (Leopards)
Forwards: Elvis Rupia (AFC), Masud Juma (JS Kabylie, Algeria), Timothy Otieno (NAPSA Stars, Zambia), Oscar Wamalwa (Ulinzi Stars).