Stars coach frustrated after Barnsley’s Oduor snubs call to national team
Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi has expressed his disappointment after a number of foreign based players he has been eyeing snubbed his call to play for the national team.
Kimanzi made the revelation even as he disclosed that the bottleneck remains the players’ agents and parents.
He said the latest player to rebuff selection to Stars is Clarke Oduor, a prodigy who helped English side Barnsley to evade relegation by scoring the winning goal against Brentford on Wednesday night.
“The boy flatly said no to national team summons and I gather that he was coerced to do so by his parents and agent. That is the position,” stated Kimanzi.
He said that he has been pursuing Oduor for some time now and that his hands are tied since the lad has already made up his mind not to play for Kenya.
Kimanzi was speaking in the wake of allegations that he has been overlooking unknown young players who are ideal to play for Stars in crucial international matches.
He said it has become evident that most Kenyan players who are increasingly shining in the diaspora think it is fashionable to play for European national teams after ditching Kenyan passports.
“I think they are influenced by the negative things being said about Kenyan football and I am surprised that these are some of the players I trained when they were younger.
I also do not like a situation when they give summons a nod when they are old ”he said.
He said Oduor is highly talented and would have fitted in Stars’ playing pattern, while pointing out that he has personally approached several other players in Europe in vain.
“Oduor is an agile player and would have formed a formidable side together with three others who are plying their trade in the US who also turned down offers,” explained Kimanzi.
He added: “There are over 200 players out there and some fit the bill and others do not but what people do not know is that there is a lot of paperwork which needs to be done lest the suitor finds himself facing litigation.”
“There is due process that should be followed, especially regarding players who hold dual citizenship.
Luring players in an unsystematic manner might even result in the federation being sued by their clubs,” he said.
Kimanzi at the same time said he has in the recent past summoned willing foreign players for trials with the national under-23 team, Emerging Stars, for the Olympics qualifiers and they were a big let-down as none of them was promoted to the senior side.“
Most people have the misconception that selection of such players is automatic.
I did it last year and only two locally based players in Omurwa (Johnstone) of Mathare United and Odhiambo (Timothy) of Ulinzi Stars were elevated to the senior side.
It was even more disappointing that money to airlift the foreign based playerswent to waste,” he said.Besides Oduor, the other player pundits feel he deserves national team selection is midfielder Richard Odada who plays for Red Star Belgrade in Serbia.