McDonald Mariga returns for Kenya friendlies

Mcdonald Mariga John Walton/EMPICS Sport

Interim Kenya coach Stanley Okumbi has recalled McDonald Mariga to the Harambee Stars squad for the East Africans' upcoming international friendlies, with the injury-prone midfielder set to feature alongside his brother Victor Wanyama.

Kenya are set to face the Comoros and the Central African Republic later this month in friendly fixtures, and the coach is keen to assess his strongest side ahead of the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers later this year.

"I have named a strong team," Okumbi told KweséESPN, "because I want to see what all these players can give during these two games that will be played in Morocco."

Reigning CECAFA Cup Kenya are set to meet the Comoros in Marrakech on March 24 in Marrakech, before battling the CAR at the same venue three days later.

Mariga has battled injury concerns through his career, and hasn't featured for the Stars since 2012. He's featured for the likes of Internazionale, Parma and Real Sociedad, but has made nine appearances in the Segunda Division this term.

"We decided that we give Mariga a chance as he is now getting enough playing time with Spain's Real Oviedo," added Okumbi.

His return afford Kenya the chance to employ powerful duo Mariga and Wanyama alongside each other in the heart of the park.

Also included is in-form Michael Olunga, who made history by scoring a hat-trick in Girona's 6-0 victory over Las Palmas in La Liga earlier this year, while China-based Ayub Timbe is also included.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa told KweséESPN that the Stars are planning to line up more friendly games.

"We are still trying to secure as many international build-up games for the team to keep active ahead of the next games of the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers," the nation's football chief confirmed.

Kenya are still without a permanent head coach following the resignation of Paul Put last month. A new manager is expected to be unveiled on May 1.


Goalkeepers: Patrick Matasi (Posta Rangers), John Oyemba (Kariobangi Sharks), Faruk Shikalo (Bandari)

Defenders: Harun Shakava (Gor Mahia), Brian Mandela (Maritzburg United, South Africa), David Ochieng, (IF Brommapojkarna, Sweden), David Owino (Zesco, Zambia), Abud Omar (Slava Sofia, Bulgaria)

Midfielders: Patilah Omoto (Kariobangi Sharks), Francis Kahata (Gor Mahia), Duncan Otieno (AFC Leopards), Samuel Onyango (Gor Mahia), Athuman Ismael Gonzales (CF Fuenlabrada, Spain), Anthony Akumu (Zesco, Zambia), Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspur, England), McDonald Mariga (Real Oviedo, Spain), Johanna Omolo (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium), Paul Were (FC Kaisar, Kazakhstan), Eric Johana Omondi (IF Brommapojkarna, Sweden)

Forwards: Ayub Timbe (Heilongjiang FC, China), Clifton Miheso (Buildcon FC, Zambia), Erick Kapaito (Kariobangi Sharks), Jesse Were (Zesco FC, Zambia), Michael Olunga (Girona FC, Spain)