Malawi-based defender earns late call-up to Harambee Stars squad ahead of Ivory Coast clash

Nyasa Big Bullets defender Clyde Senaji.

Malawi-based defender earns late call-up to Harambee Stars squad ahead of Ivory Coast clash

Joel Omotto 18:30 - 09.06.2024

The experienced defender will offer Harambee Stars coach Engi Firat options in defence as he plots a way of dealing with Ivory Coast’s threat in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier.

Malawi-based Clyde Senaji is the latest player to be called up to the Harambee Stars camp ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Ivory Coast.

The defender received a late call-up to Engin Firat’s squad to help bolster the defence that has been decimated by injuries for the June matches.

Football Kenya Federation (FKF) confirmed Senaji’s late call-up with the player set to link up with the squad in Lilongwe ahead of Tuesday’s crucial match.

“Clyde Senaji is the latest player expected to join the Harambee Stars camp in Malawi. The defender, who plays for Nyasa Big Bullets in Malawi, comes in alongside David Okoth who joined the camp today morning,” said FKF on Sunday.

The defender, alongside Kenya Police FC winger David Okoth, are the late inclusions into the squad as Firat plots a strategy to bring down African champions Ivory Coast.

Senaji is highly-experienced after his stellar displays for Malawian giants Nyasa Big Bullets, who he joined at the start of the 2023 season, before signing a two-year contract extension in January this year.

The 27-year-old has consistently missed out on national team call-ups despite his stellar show at club level and Firat explained in March that he had not included him in the squad because of how difficult it was to track his performances in Malawi.

"It is very difficult to monitor the players, and you have to see the other side of the story," said Firat ahead of the Four Nations tournament.

"For example, if you have a very big talent in Malawi, for someone in Europe who cannot see it, he cannot get data for this boy."

However, having spent some days in Malawi, where Kenya are hosting their two matches, the Turkish coach seems to have received enough information about Senaji which convinced him to hand him a late call-up.

Harambee Stars are hamstrung in defence due to injuries on key players like Joseph Okumu, which saw Daniel Anyembe partner Johnstone Omurwa at centre-back against Burundi on Friday, and Senaji, who last featured for Kenya in a 2-1 loss to Togo in March 2021, will be another option for Firat.

Follow us on X (Twitter) for more updates.