The current Football Kenya Federation (FKF) office has done well so far and key for they have often stressed, is building for the future, digging the new breed and preparing for CHAN 2018. With this in mind, they must urge the national men's football team head coach Mr Stanley Okumbi to trust the local talents especially in friendly matches.
I am among the timpani of voices that have been calling for Okumbi to be bold and treat the upcoming friendly against neighbors Uganda as a kind of developmental project with the 2018 CHAN edition, which Kenya is set to host, in mind. There is, of course, an opposing view. There is always a tipping point in the process of renewal, after which picking younger local players stops being a gamble and becomes instead simply picking your better players and that time should start now.
Picking a side for the national team assignment isn’t the easiest of tasks more so with most untested players at the national team level and FIFA Rankings (I don't understand this obsession) to contest for but when will we test the untested when they can’t be trusted with the simplest of task of featuring in friendly duels. For instance as at now should Okumbi prefer Kenneth Muguna in place of Johanna Omollo? Joseph Okumu (if he was available) or Brian Mandela? These are choices that drastically alter the range of age and experience but they have to be tested.
Eric Ouma is a sure bet at left back and together with Aboud Omar, that’s a position that we should be safe in heading into the future but both won't be featuring in CHAN. Why not try someone like Kariobangi Sharks’ Bolton Omwenga or AFC Leopards’ Marcus Jairo in readiness for CHAN? Pick someone like Wellington Ochieng at right back with Robinson Kamura and Musa Mohammed at center back. Bonface Oluoch is a sure starter between the sticks but it’s time again we incorporated young keepers for the future.
Benard Mangoli together with Muguna and Francis Kahata would thrive in any midfield. I still feel Vincent Oburu should have been retained to lead our attack because it’s clear that Micho, the Ugandan coach will be using the friendly to gauge the local talents he has at his disposal. Why not us? Imagine a scenario where we did not have someone of David Owino’s presence at the back in a serious game and you have no one to pick to replace him-the process of integration should have been started as early as yesterday.
Harambee Stars has in previous years had a sense of yawning over-familiarity and we know Okumbi is cautious by nature. But for once presenting a local national team face in a friendly show is the best option if we are indeed building for the future.