Matasi dropped as Origi returns from retirement

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020 00:00 |
Arnold Origi.

Star goalkeeper Patrick Matasi has been dropped from national football team Harambee Stars and veteran Arnold Origi convinced back from international retirement after he hung his gloves seven years ago.

Stars head coach Francis Kimanzi named a 34-man provisional squad yesterday ahead of the team’s upcoming friendly match against Zambia as they prepare to face Comoros in a crucial 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Group G qualifier.

Matasi who was the first choice custodian at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt where he even managed to save a penalty taken by Africa player of the year and Liverpool star Sadio Mane, when Kenya played against Senegal, is a surprise exclusion in the team, but someone had to be sacrificed with the return of Origi who boasts of 33 caps.

There is also a feeling that the former Tusker and AFC Leopards custodian who currently plies his trade with Ethiopia giants St Georges, fell out with Kimanzi after fumbling in Stars’ 1-1 draw against Egypt, during their first Group G qualifier in Cairo.

Kenya are in the same group with leaders Comoros, Egypt and Togo and only the top two in the group will be guaranteed participation at the next continental showpiece.

Other key players who featured at the continental competition last year but have been omitted by Kimanzi include Dennis Odhiambo, David ‘Calabar’ Owino, Musa Mohammed, Bernard Odhiambo and Aboud Omar.

Kimanzi has earned Barnsley’s Clarke Oduor his first call up after shining for his side at the English Championship last season, Oduor scored the winning goal for his side against Brentford, to save them from relegation.

Right fullback Philemon Otieno is also back in the team after a long injury spell that saw him undergo a knee surgery and Belarus based midfielder Katana Mohammed also gets a first call-up.

Elvis Rupia, whose goals helped the resurgence of AFC Leopards before the local league was cancelled, is also in the team as well as last season top scorer Timothy Otieno who has since joined Napsa Stars of Zambia from Tusker and John Avire who had a controversial move to Tanta FC in Egypt from Sofapaka.

The match, which is a build-up to the upcoming back to back Africa Cup of Nations Qualifiers against Comoros, has been scheduled for October 10, 2020, at the MISC Kasarani, behind closed doors.

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