11 October 2014 16:47
Kenya are having to overcome a striker crisis as they prepare to face Africa Cup of Nations hosts Morocco on Monday.
The withdrawal of Gor Mahia forward Timothy Otieno has come as a blow to coach Bobby Williamson, with Jesse Were and Allan Wanga having already been ruled out.
Clifford Alwanga has also missed the trip to Marrakech as he did not have the necessary travel documents, yet Williamson does not plan to utilise former captain Dennis Oliech, who has been training with the team this week and has 34 goals for Kenya.
“It is unfortunate that we will not have Timothy Otieno after he got an injury,” said Williamson.
“We don’t have Wanga and Were. It presents a real crisis up front, but we will have to somehow get a result with what we have at hand.
“I know that Oliech has done a lot for the country and that he still has better days ahead of him, but he is not in my plans for this match.
“We must find a new Oliech.”
Kenya captain Victor Wanyama is hopeful his side can impress against Morocco as they seek a first victory since May.
“This is a big match for us in which we hope to learn a lot,” said the Southampton midfielder. “We have had good training and hope to make an impact in [the match].”
Discussing Williamson’s decision to leave Oliech out of his squad, Wanyama added: “I cannot speak much about the matter, but I know that Oliech still is a good player, and he has done a lot for the country. It is, however, the coach’s task to decide who makes the squad and who doesn’t.”
In contrast to their opponents, Morocco have an in-form striker at their disposal.
Guangzhou R and F’s Abderrazak Hamdallah boasts 20 goals in the Chinese Super League this season and scored a hat-trick on Thursday as Morocco eased to a 4-0 victory over Central African Republic.
That victory followed a 3-0 win against Libya in September and Badou Zaki will be eager for his men to keep up the winning habit as they continue their preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Morocco made a request this week to postpone the continental tournament – scheduled to be held between January 17 and February 8 next year – due to the Ebola virus, but their plea was rejected by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).