Kenya football loses McDonald Mariga for 2010 World Cup qualifier

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Italy-based Kenyan professional soccer player, McDonald Mariga, has been locked out of the national team for this weekend’s 2010 World Cup/Africa Cup of Nations away qualifying match against Namibia.

Mariga, who plays for Italian Serie A side Parma, was among the scores of Kenyan professionals called up to the provisional team 10 days ago.

According of the troubled Kenya Football Federation (KFF), Mariga is part the Parma team that currently touring Asia for friendly matches. Coach Francis Kimanzi said Monday Mariga would be given a chance to participate in subsequent qualifiers. He is the only missing bigwig among the professionals called up by the rival KFF offices.

Mohammed Hatimy, chair of the faction that was tossed out by the High Court earl ier in the month after it ruled that his group was in office illegally, is recognised by FIFA. A former KFF secretary-general, Sam Nyamweya, heads the other faction which took charge after Hatimy was removed by the court. The Nyamweya team is recognised by the government.

FIFA, accusing the government of interfering in the affairs of the national fede ration, gave Kenya a 72-hour ultimatum to rescind the decision or face the consequences.

It appears no action will be taken against the East Africans because Kenya was not part of the official agenda at the just-concluded FIFA Congress in Sydney, Australia, which was attended by the Kenyan delegation led by Hatimy.

Back in the pitch, other professionals called up continued training Monday with the bulk opting to train under the auspices of the FIFA-recognised faction. The rival teams had embarked on parallel training – all at the Moi International Sports Centre here under Coaches Francis Kimanzi and James Siang’a.

Kimanzi is handling the FIFA-backed team, while retired international custodian- turned-coach Siang’a is in charge of the “pro-government” team.

Other big names training are French-based prolific striker Dennis Oliech who plays for AJ Auxerre, team captain Robert Mambo of Swedish premier club GIF Sundsvall and Angola-based Allan Wanga of Petro Atletico.

Others are Europe-based players Patrick Oboya who turns out for Siad Most of Czech Republic and Norway-based goalkeeper Arnold Origi of FK Moss are also in the camp.

Also in camp are Asia-based professionals Osborne Monday and Kevin Ochieng (both Al Shabaab, Oman) and Boniface Ambani (India).

Kenya is drawn Group Two of the qualifiers against-Guinea, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Panapress .

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