Why Gor Mahia ace Austin Odhiambo was omitted from Harambee Stars Squad

19th March 2024

Austin's exclusion from the squad generated a lot of debate within the football circles.

Austin Odhiambo celebrates after scoring. PHOTO| SportPesa
Austin Odhiambo celebrates after scoring. PHOTO| SportPesa
  • Firat stated that Odhiambo’s absence had nothing to do with his abilities.
  • According to Firat, the player feigned sickness the last time he was called to the Harambee Stars squad only to play for his club.

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has disclosed that he did not give a call-up to Austin Odhiambo due to indiscipline reasons.

Odhiambo’s exclusion from the squad set to compete in the four-nations championship in Malawi from 18-26 March led to a public outcry among the Kenyan football circles.

Most individuals were wondering why the player, who is currently enjoying some fine form in the 23/24 Football Kenya Federation Premier League, was left out of the squad.

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Firat has now come out and made it clear that Odhiambo’s absence does not have anything to do with his football ability. 

According to the former Moldova tactician, the K’Ogalo attacker feigned sickness during the September international break but went on to play for his club a few hours later, a scenario that infuriated the technical bench since he has not expressed remorse over his actions since then.

“It is very simple with Austin. Very simple.  Last September he was in camp here with Stanley Wilson also. So, what happened is we couldn’t fix the visa for both of them to go to Qatar at the right time.

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We were only going to Qatar for two and a half days. So, I told them to stay back in the hotel. We came back, Stanley was already in the hotel but there was no sign of Austin and nobody could reach him.

His brother Tyson was here and when I asked him he did not know which was strange," Firat divulged.

The 53-year-old further revealed that Odhiambo then sent a message to Harambee Stars’ team manager the next day informing him that he was suffering from malaria and needed some time to recover.

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“So, what happened a few hours later, Ken came to me and showed me that Austin played in a Gor Mahia friendly and had scored a goal against Mathare. If someone thinks they are very important then I have no problem,” stated Firat.

Harambee Stars, who are expected to depart on Thursday, will face Malawi on Saturday 23 March.

The winner of the game will take on either Zambia or Zimbabwe in the final on 26 March.

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