Firat explains reason for axing Benson Omala from Harambee Stars squad


FOOTBALL Firat explains reason for axing Benson Omala from Harambee Stars squad

Imran Otieno 12:58 - 25.03.2023

Omala will not travel with the team to face Iran in Tehran.

The local league top scorer Benson Omala’s exclusion from the Harambee Stars squad to face Iran in a friendly sparked wild debate with head coach Engin Firat explaining that it was a precautionary move.

Omala is enjoying an imperious season with record league champions Gor Mahia where he has nestled the back of the net 19 times in 20 games but that proved futile in securing a place in the final squad.

The Turkish manager noted that young players need time to adapt before they can be thrown into the deep end as he added that being the top scorer is not a guarantee to be in the national team.

“In the camps before, I had a problem announcing the squad because some of the players were not self-confident, they did not work hard enough and did not believe that they can play but this time it was different.

The young players especially need time, people put pressure on them. Being the top scorer is not a guarantee to be on the national team. Derrick and Kapatio were top scorers before and were not guaranteed to be on the team,” said Firat.

The 52-year-old tactician opted to go with skipper Michael Olunga, debutant Alfred Scriven, Elvis Rupia who is the second top scorer in the league, and Masud Juma in his attacking department.

Firat admitted that national team call-ups will always draw contrasting opinions but noted that players are always welcome to seek further information about the squad compositions.

"When I followed the media, fans wanted over 150 players to be called up, there were players who were invited and others who were not invited and people still questioned that. If I start to discuss every player I will not have time for training.

Whatever I have is between the player and me, the player (Omala) got the full information, whenever they want they have the door always open. If I did not trust him, he would not be here in camp all of them trained well and I was always happy about it,” he added.

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