Midfielders Danson Chetambe and Kevin Juma have vowed to put in the work so that they can become regulars in the national team set up.
As a build-up for the 2022 African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Egypt and Togo on March 25 and 29 respectively, Harambee Stars are scheduled to take on South Sudan on Saturday, and Tanzania on 15 and 18 at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.
Following a string of impressive performances in the Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL), Chetambe (Bandari) and Juma (Nzoia Sugar) have received call ups to join the 28 local-based players who have been in training for the last one month ahead of the qualifiers.
After 15 matches, the dockers are fourth on the log with 26 points and Chetambe has been instrumental in that performance, as he has scored one goal and provided seven assists.
Alongside James Mazembe of Kariobangi Sharks, they are the top assist providers in the league.
Kenneth Muguna of Gor Mahia is second with six assists.
“When the season started, my target was to be among the best players. I am happy things are going as I wanted, and I am very grateful to my teammates and coaches because they play a big role in it,” said Chetambe.
He joined Bandari in July 2019 from Zoo FC. Busia’s Firm United, Border Lions and Busia United are some of the clubs that he also also played for.
“Playing for the national team has always been my dream, so I am very happy to be in camp. It is a chance I don’t want to waste. If I am given the chance, I will give my best to impress the coach,” said the 27-year-old.
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Juma, 25, said being called up for national team duty is the least thing he expected. He is part of the miller’s squad that has caused a few upsets this season, which include wins against Sofapaka, KCB and Gor Mahia.
“My target has been to play well and help Nzoia Sugar perform well in the league… The national duty is a different place. I believe in myself if given the chance,” he said.
Chetambe and Juma’s addition to the provisional squad for the Egypt and Togo’s matches makes the midfield to be more competitive, since 14 players are now fighting for slots.
Speaking Monday during the unveiling of gaming firm – OdiBets – as Harambee Stars official sponsor for the upcoming five matches at a tune of Sh5 million, coach Jacob “Ghost’ Mulee said that unlike before, he now has a big pool to select players from.
“I am happy the league is on now. It is a very tough league, you cannot say who is going to win it. The last time when we played our two games against Comoros, we did not have the league. Now it has been on and it gives us a lot in terms of players’ selection,” Mulee said.
Harambee Stars’ match against South Sudan will kick-off at 3pm on Saturday. South Sudan arrived in the country on Tuesday and held their first training Wednesday afternoon at Nyayo National Stadium. Harambee Stars will train Thursday evening at the same venue.