Three key players missing from Kenya squad

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Italy-based midfielder MacDonald Mariga and goalkeeper Arnold Origi are among the players left out of the Kenyan World Cup squad for their match against Zimbabwe this weekend.

The team jets out to Harare Friday for the 2010 World Cup/African Cup of Nations qualifier return match against the southern African side Sunday.

Also missing from the squad, named by coach Francis Kimanzi late Thursday, are striker Patrick Oboya who plays in the Czech Republic.

Mariga, who players for Italy’s Parma, and Origi (FC Moss, Norway), were knocked out by injuries sustained at the 14 June first-leg match against Zimbabwe at the fully-packed Nyayo National Stadium here. Kenya won 2-0.

Oboya is serving suspension after being twice yellow-carded. Also dropped is home-based player, Joseph Ruto.

Kenya-based midfielder, Andrew Oyombe, has taken Mariga’s place and is expected to shore up the midfield, while dreadlocked custodian, Noah Ayuko, will man the goal in Origi’s absence.

Origi fell badly while saving a dangerous shot from a Zimbabwean striker and ended up twisting his knee and sustaining his injury. Doctors say he needs six weeks to recover.

The defence unit remained unchanged and Holland-trained Kimanzi will field the same players who featured in the first-leg qualifier matches against Guinea and Zimbabwe.

Kenya won both matches 2-0 each to lead their Group Two standings.

Kenya, thirsting for places in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and that year’s African Cup of Nations finals in Angola, are grouped together with Guinea, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Kenya leads the standings with six points, followed by Zimbabwe (four points), Namibia and Guinea come third and fourth in that order.

The team is as follows: Goalkeepers — Noah Ayuko, Jacktone Ochieng.

Defenders — George Owino, Edgar Ochieng, John Njoroge, Joseph Shikokoti, Lloyd Wahome, Anthony Kimani.

Midfielders — Augustine Makacha, Osborne Monday, Levi Muaka, Kelvin Ochieng, Titus Mulama, Robert Mambo, Andrew Oyombe.

Strikers — Francis Ouma, Dennis Oliech, Allan Wanga. Panapress .

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