29 August 2014 13:35
New Kenya national coach Bobby Williamson is looking to replicate his KPL club success as he takes on Egypt in his first match in charge.
With their international friendly match taking place outside of the FIFA International Match Calendar, Egypt and Kenya will kick off with a mixture of youngsters and locally-based players at the Aswan Stadium on August 30.
For Kenya, it is a chance at redemption as they seek to rebuild after their surprise African Cup of Nations qualifying elimination at the hands of Lesotho. The loss saw the Kenya Football Federation (KFF) sack their Belgium-born coach Adel Amrouche and his entire technical team.
Experienced Scottish coach Bobby Williamson was brought in and he charge of the national team for the first time in Egypt.
However, his preparations have been disrupted after it was revealed that players of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) champions Gor Mahia, who Williamson managed before his appointment as national team coach, will miss out on the match against Egypt.
“We have had two training sessions and none has been attended by Gor Mahia players,” said Williamson. “We will therefore not use them for this match.”
Key players from Gor that will miss the game include Jerim Onyango, David Owino and Timothy Otieno. This should open the door for the forgotten man of Kenyan football Tusker FC striker Jesse Were.
“I do not think the previous coaches had snubbed me,” said Were.
“It is just my time had not come and that has finally happened. I look forward to score goals now that the opportunity is here.
“This is a young team and the players are motivated to give their best. They will succeed in a big way.”
Egypt have had their 18-man local squad in a training camp since Monday, with their international stars due to join up with the team only after the Kenya game.
Head coach Shawky Gharib had hoped to add Chelsea’s Mohamed Salah to his inexperienced squad for the friendly but his advances were rebuffed by the Premier League outfit.
“Chelsea refused to release Salah before Kenya’s friendly, which is not included in the FIFA calendar,” Gharib said.
“The English club confirmed that Salah will be in Cairo on 31 August, five days before our game against Senegal.”
Both teams come into the friendly match with something to prove.
Kenya are looking to impress a new manager and rebuild their shattered confidence, while Egypt are determined to show that they will not have a repeat of their failure to qualify for the last two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments as they prepare for their Group G opener against Senegal on September 5.