As the national team Harambee Stars continues with its preparations ahead of the AFCON finals, several of its stars plying their trades abroad yet to link up with the team at its training base in France, finished off their club duties by getting valuable game time with two on the score sheets.
Seven of the 17 foreign based players called up to coach Sebastien Migne’s 27-man provisional squad were yet to link up with the team by Monday and five of them featured for their clubs over the weekend.
Michael Olunga and Ovella Ochieng both found the back of the net for their respective clubs in Japan and Sweden but only Olunga’s team managed to register a win.
Olunga scored the winner for Kashiwa Reysol on Saturday against FC Gifu to help his team claim a 1-0 win while Ovella returned back to action after a three game absence to rise off the bench and score for Swedish 3rd division side Vasalund in a 1-1 draw with Sandviken on Sunday.
The goal was Ovella’s first in eight appearances this season.
Vasalund is also home to two other Kenyan’s in Eric Marcelo Ouma and Anthony Wambani, neither of whom featured on Sunday.
Ouma is also part of the AFCON squad.
Also in Sweden and to the second division where Stars attacking midfielder Eric Johanna started and clocked 84 minutes as his club Bromma FC continued with its poor run by falling 3-2 at home to Trelleborg.
Bromma are rock bottom in the Swedish second division after claiming just two wins from their opening 11 matches and losing eight.
Johanna started in every AFCON qualifier under Migne and has made eight appearances for Bromma in the league this season scoring twice.
Still in Europe and in the biggest game of the European club calendar the UEFA Champions League where Stars captain Victor Wanyama was unable to replicate brother MacDonald Mariga and become only the second Kenyan to lift the coveted trophy as his Tottenham Hotspur side were humbled 2-0 by English rivals Liverpool in the final played on Saturday.
Wanyama, just like his brother back in 2010, was an unused substitute in the game.
Out of Europe and into Africa where South African based defender Brian Mandela clocked the full 90 minutes for his club Maritzburg United as they concluded their relegation playoff campaign with a 2-1 win over second tier side Milano United on Saturday to maintain their topflight status for another season.
Injuries have hampered the burly defender’s season but nonetheless he has managed 20 league outings for Maritzburg this campaign netting once.
To Asia now and specifically China where Stars winger Ayub Timbe continued with his road to full fitness after more than five months out with a knee injury, by claiming an assist for his CSL side Beijing Renhe in the 2-0 win over Tianjin Tianhai on Saturday.
Timbe clocked 80 minutes in just his third game back from injury and his gradual improvement towards full fitness is a huge boost to the national team as well as head coach Migne who is yet to have the pacey winger play for him.
Injuries and suspension have kept Timbe out of the national team fold since 2017 with his last game being the now scrapped-off AFCON matchday 1 qualifier away to Sierra Leone.
All the above players are scheduled to link up with the rest of the national team squad in the course of the week.