Harambee Stars: 'Marcelo' ruled out, Okumu hopeful ahead of Burundi & Ivory Coast tests

Harambee Stars: 'Marcelo' ruled out, Okumu hopeful ahead of Burundi & Ivory Coast tests

Mark Kinyanjui 16:00 - 05.06.2024

Erick ‘Marcelo’ Ouma has not passed a fitness test ahead of Harambee Stars’ matches with Burundi and Ivory Coast but Joseph Okumu is hoping to be involved.

Harambee Stars and Rakow Czestochowa full-back Erick 'Marcelo' Ouma is now in the reconditioning stage of the injury he suffered back in April, which has effectively ruled him out of the side's crunch World Cup qualifying games against Burundi and Ivory Coast.

Marcelo's season was prematurely ended by a torn semimembranosus muscle, marking his second major injury this year, after a biceps femoris muscle tear kept him out for four weeks in March.

These injuries forced him to miss significant parts of the season, including the international break in March, when Kenya participated in and won a fours-team tournament in Malawi.

Marcelo's recent national team call-up was intended to assess his recovery progress. Although he could be back on a football pitch soon, Pulse Sports can now authoritatively confirm that both games will come too soon for the former Gor Mahia defender.

Aboud Omar is the only other natural left-back in the squad. Head coach Engin Firat drafted in Sofapaka's Baron Ochieng, a versatile defender who can play on either flank, even though he is predominantly a right-back.

As Kenya face Burundi and Ivory Coast in crucial back-to-back qualifiers, Marcelo extended his best wishes to his teammates, especially the player stepping into his role. 

"I wish them all the best, especially the left-back on duty," Ouma told Mozzart Sport earlier, highlighting his support for the team despite being sidelined.

In January, the 27-year-old made a move to Polish side Rakow Czestochowa from Swedish club AIK. While the season did not conclude favourably for Rakow, Marcelo remains optimistic about his recovery and is determined to help his team achieve league success in the future.

Okumu expected to land in Malawi for more assesment

Meanwhile, Joseph Okumu could still yet play apart in the side's matches as he is expected to land in the country according to a source close to the Harambee Stars camp.

Okumu has also suffered injury issues at club level, and never featured in any of the side's last three games of the season. However, there is a slight chance he might be deemed fit enough to play both games.

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