Center back Joshua Lelan called to Kenya's provisional squad to face Uganda, Zambia Photo credit -
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Tracing Harambee Stars callups Jonah Ayunga and Joshua Lelan
By Patrick Korir | Sun 07 Aug, 2016 10:30

On Friday 5 August, the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) unveiled a 40-man squad to report to camp in ten days time to start preparations for two international assignments - an inteernational friendly away to Uganda at the close of the month and a sixth and final 2017 Africa Cup tie qualifier to Zambia four three days later.

In the squad were two unknown names, to the larger Kenyan football followers that is, striker Jonah Ayunga, 19 and centre back Joshua Kipkemboi Lelan.

Exaclty who are the two gentlemen with Kenyan lineage?

Jonah Ayunga, 19 features for the junior side of English Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion.

Over the past few years, the lad raised in Beaminsiter, in Bridport Town has had rev reviews and if wide reports are anything to go by, he could just be the striker Kenya has been looking for to bang in regular goals.

In the summer of 2015 he was signed by Dorchester Town 1880 and after just two months he was handed a contract extension, to keep him at the Avenue club till the summer of 2017. He was signed from Bridport where he had been since 2007.


"I think we’d be silly not to reward somebody who has done so well and shown so much potential," said his manager Mark Jermyn at Dorchesteer back in Sept 2015.

He was to last just six months at Dorchester, as a scouting report gave him away to big boys English second tier side Brighton and Hove Albion in February 2016 for £40,000. 

As he departed Dorchester his coach said; "He has got the world at his feet at the moment,"

Though his transfer fee was undisclosed, reports indicate it has the potential to be the "biggest receipt in the history of the club over time" if Jonah is successful.

"He is a very exciting young talent. He is a strong, quick and powerful centre-forward, who has impressed in a short space of time at Dorchester," said his manager Mark Jermyn

“He is a very exciting young talent. He is a strong, quick and powerful centre-forward, who has impressed in a short space of time at Dorchester,"

“Our recruitment team has been monitoring him during that period and he comes here very highly recommended." Brighton Academy manager John Morling told the South Coast club’s website as Ayunga arrived at the club in February with eight goals from 24 league games at Dorchester.

Jonah who turns out for Brighton at the U21 Premier League has a sibling Solomon Ayunga, 17, who is now at Dorchester.

Jonah's arrival at the Kenyan fold places Solomon as a red hot prospect for Kenya U20.

Joshua Kipkemboi Lelan

The 21 year old central defender, more often referred to as Josh Lelan is currently in between clubs.

The six-foot-one defender was in the ranks of English second tier side Derby County for his youth career between 2011 and 2013.

He spent his next two years on loan at Gateshead and Swindon Town before joining Northampton Town for a year at the beginning of the 2015/16 season. He won the League Two title with the side at the close of the season.

Lately he has had  trial with League One side Gillingham as well as League Two team Plymouth Argyle.

"Josh is mobile and athletic and he can fill in other positions as well,"

"He has a good pedigree, he has had a good grounding with Derby and he has had loan spells at clubs who play a good footballing style," said Northampton Town boss Chris Wilder while signing him last year.

As he clubs searches, Lelan will have to be at his best for a place in the Kenyan defence that has the tried and tested.

Ismael Athuman

The two will be hoping to break into the Kenyan set up, just as Ismael Athuman Gonzalez of La liga side Las Palmas who landed in Kenya recently, proved himself by serving up quality football, helping Kenya to a 2-1 win over Congo Brazzaville in a fifth round 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier that came with a 43 positional ranking rise.

Also read: England based pros among new faces in Harambee Stars squad

Patrick Korir

Twitter: @tipkorir

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