Where is Avire?

Thursday, September 5th, 2019 00:00 |

Harambee Stars and Sofapaka striker John Avire has been dropped from the national team after failing to report to camp or even confirm his availability.

This happened as first-choice striker Michael Olunga arrived in the country from his Japan base ahead of a hyped international friendly against neighbours Uganda on Sunday.

Avire, 23, went AWOL in July after he tried to force his exit from 2009 league champions Sofapaka to join Tanta FC that features in the Egyptian second league. 

He has never returned to Sofapaka despite the resumption of the local league, and no one knows his whereabouts, though it is believed he is in the north African nation, hoping that Sofapaka will reach an agreement with the Egyptian club and release him in time before the transfer window closes on September 16.

Stars’ head coach Francis Kimanzi named him in his team to face Uganda but has since dropped him after receiving no communication from the former Passenga High School danger man, and he will now rely on Olunga, Zambia-based Jesse Were and Ulinzi Stars striker Enos Ochieng for the friendly dubbed ‘Migingo Derby.’

“We haven’t heard a thing from Avire. All we know is that he is still our player and when he resurfaces, we will see what disciplinary measures to take.

There is no way he can join any other team without us releasing him,” said Sofapaka president Elly Kalekwa after receiving assurances from the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) secretariat that they would not issue the player with a letter before getting clearance from the club.

Kimanzi yesterday added new call-ups Brian Otieno and Collins Ogande both from Bandari, Gor Mahia’s Lawrence Otieno and Wazito’s Johnstone

Omurwa to his squad. 

Brian, Lawrence and Omurwa are all defenders while Ogande is a defensive midfielder.

Apart from Avire, Victor Wanyama, Joseph Okumu and Ayub Timbe, all the other players had reported to camp by yesterday afternoon. 

It is understood Wanyama requested to be omitted due to personal reasons, while Timbe was due to arrive last night. 

Okumu, who recently moved to the Swedish league at IF Elfsborg, also requested to be omitted to be able to settle at his new base.

Bernard Ochieng, who featured at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, has been ruled out through injury.

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