A total of five players made their debut for Harambee Stars in their friendly against neighbours Uganda Cranes on Sunday 8 September.
The game was the first for head coach Francis Kimanzi after taking the mantle from Sebastien Migne and with a chunk of foreign players failing to turn up for the tie, the former Mathare United coach gave a chance to a series of local players with five grabbing their debuts.
So, who are the five players who placed the federation crest on their chest for the first time at the senior level?
- Johnstone Omurwa
After featuring for the national team at the U23 level, it was time for Omurwa to step up and be counted. The defender had started on the bench but was to replace his captain at the U23 level Michael Kibwage at the interval.
Omurwa who rejoined Wazito FC at the start of this season had worked with Kimanzi at Mathare United and it was safe to say that no one knew him more than his previous teacher. He gave a good account of himself in the 45 minutes he was on show and will hope that it was the first of many.
- Collins Agade
With the national team short in the defensive midfield department following the absence of captain Victor Wanyama and Athuman Gonzalez (both who didn’t make it to the team despite being called up), it was up to Kimanzi to look for a replacement.
Agade was a late call up to the team and was thrust into the fray. He didn’t do himself any favors as Kimanzi pulled him out in the first half for Whyvonne Isuza. He will hope to have a better outing when his team, Bandari FC, take to the CAF Confederation Cup stage.
- Lawrence Juma
Juma was rewarded for his good outing with Gor Mahia since last season. Another beneficiary of some players missing call ups. Just like Agade, he was deployed from the start. Looked lost in the first half so was the entire team but came lively in the second with the help of Isuza and club mate Muguna.
- Samuel Olwande
With Philemon Otieno out injured and Yusuf Mainge just joining a club in Slovakia, the right-back position was another area that Stars lacked a player. Olwande who, just as Omurwa was at Mathare United with Kimanzi last season, was given his chance to impress. Now with Kariobangi Sharks, he didn’t start the game well and was at fault when the home team conceded the first goal. Was replaced by Bandari’s Atariza Meja later on.
- Boniface Muchiri
The wait was long overdue for Muchiri. One of the most consistent players in the league was to finally make his bow with the national team. He came for Muguna and almost marked it with a goal were it not for the heroics of the Uganda keeper.
Image by FKF