The former Manchester City manager was not impressed by the way the attacking midfielder was handled by the Harambee Stars coach during Kenya’s loss to South Sudan
Bradford City manager Mark Hughes has expressed his disappointment in the manner in which midfielder Clarke Oduor was handled by Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat during the international period.
Oduor was an unused substitute as Kenya beat Qatar 2-1 before he came on from the bench in their 1-0 defeat to South Sudan. However, he lasted just over 20 minutes before he was taken off, with Firat saying he was not impressed with his performance.
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The 19-year-old Kenyan scored his second goal for Leicester City after also netting against Norwich City.
“When he came on, I had the feeling that he was a little afraid. It is as if he has a brake,” Firat told the media on why Oduor was taken off after coming on as a substitute.
"He needs to let it go and I believe we will have a good player on the side with him. He has real capacity and it is good that he is now playing more often in his club as an attacking midfielder."
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However, Hughes feels it was not good treatment of the attacking midfielder who according to him, was left fuming by the decision.
“Clarke was scratching his head about it,” said Hughes, as quoted by the Telegraph & Argus. “He’s not going to say anything against his national team manager but I probably could.
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“It seemed a strange one because it doesn’t usually happen. But the important thing for us is that he wasn’t injured. He wasn’t in a position that he had to come off, so he’ll be fine.”
To show just how highly he rates the Kenya international, Hughes started him in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Harrogate Town in an English League Two clash, playing all 90 minutes of the encounter.
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The traveling party unsurprisingly consists mostly of foreign-based players, with only four local based players featuring in the squad.
Oduor has started the season brightly since his arrival from Barnsley. He converted the winning penalty at Accrington in the Carabao Cup and scored the equaliser in Bradford’s win over Colchester.
A slight groin problem ruled him out for two games but he was back in the team at Mansfield before heading off for international duty.
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Despite his latest disappointment, Hughes has backed Oduor to shine for Kenya in future while promising to offer him support, especially in November’s 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, when Bradford will have to do without the midfielder for two weeks.
“You understand it. I would never stand in the way of players playing for their national team,” added the former Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers coach.
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“It’s not something that you can do. You’ve got to allow them the opportunity and then they make decisions further down the line about whether or not their commitment is really that strong if they are not getting the game time that they feel.
“It’s very difficult to turn down your country. It is what it is. We should look at it that we’re fortunate that we’ve got a guy playing at international level. That’s a good thing for us overall.”