With Harambee Stars already in Rades, Tunisia days ahead of the crucial qualifier against Tunisia for a 2010 World Cup cum Nations Cup qualifier, its chief striker, France-based Dennis Oliech of Ligue 1 side AJ Auxerre will not be doing duty for the country.
Prior to departing for Tunisia the head Coach Antoine Hey had indicated there will be suprise changes in the team to face Tunisia in the reverse tie.
That surprise was delivered today as Harambee Stars team manager Edward Oduor revealed of the five tickets for foreign-based players expected to fly directly to Tunisia, there was non for Oliech meaning he was out of the team.
Oliech, Kenyas lead striker scored the equalizing goal that gave the Harambee Stars some hope in the first tie against Tunisia in the current round of qualifiers although Kenya finally succumbed 1-2 at home.Oliech has been a permanent fixture in all major international matches unless missing through suspension and injury.
Oliech, 24 is considered one of Kenyas most potent strikers of all time having slammed in 22 goals in 39 international games for Kenya.
Scaled down, Oliech has scored 11 times in 17 qualifying matches towards the World Cand Africa Cup of Nations ever since making his debut in 2002.
Four of Oliech"s goals came in the six games in the second phase of the qualifiers under the then coach Francis Kimanzi but the striker has only scored once in the third phase of the qualifiers from four games under Antoine Hey.
The German has in recent months heaped blame on Oliech for not delivering goals for Kenya as well as questioning the player"s discipline.
Without Oliech, Hey will have to depend on Allan Wanga of Petro Atletico to deliver the goals, US based Taiwo Atieno of USL 1 side Rochester Rhinos and Patrick Oboya of Banik Most in the Czech Republic.
Left footed Oboya has always been deployed as a winger but with the void created by Oliech’s omission, the 21 year old could be moved up to his preferred central striking position. Oboya has scored twice for Kenya in 17 outings.
Wanga has scored thrice for Kenya (all in CECAFA 2007) in 14 international caps but is yet to open his account in the World Cup/Nations Cup qualifiers. With Oliech out, it may as well be Allan, always brought in a sub, to start against Tunisia.
Taiwo on the other hand has only made two appearances for the National team; a three minute appearance in the Mozambique game played at Kasarani on June 20th and another 10 minutes in only his second cap for Kenya in the reverse tie on Sept 5th in Maputo. Taiwo is now more hopeful of more minutes on the pitch in his third cap for Kenya and probably his first goal.
Taiwo arrived in the country yesterday after his USL 1 Rochester Rhinos was bundled out of the playoffs for the USL Championship by Puerto Rico Islanders.