2026 World Cup qualifiers: Kenya picks provisional squad for Burundi and Ivory Coast


Kenya’s national football team, the Harambee Stars, is gearing up for two crucial 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Head coach Engin Firat has announced a 26-man provisional squad set to face off against Burundi and Ivory Coast at Bingu National Stadium in Malawi on 7 June and 11 June, respectively.

This squad showcases a blend of experienced internationals and promising talents, all poised to stake their claim for a spot in the final squad.


The goalkeeping department features a mix of seasoned and emerging talents. Patrick Matasi of Kenya Police, a veteran with significant international experience, leads the pack.

He is joined by Byrne Odhiambo of Bandari and Boniphas Munyasa of Muranga Seal, both of whom have been impressive in the domestic league.

Ian Otieno from Zesco in Zambia adds an international flavor, bringing his experience from the Zambian league.


Kenya’s defense will be anchored by Johnstone Omurwa, who plies his trade at Estrela in Portugal, and Alphonse Omija from Dhofar in Oman.

Both players have been solid in their respective leagues and will be expected to provide stability at the back. The squad also includes Amos Nondi of Ararat in Armenia and Tobias Knost from SV Verl in Germany, both bringing international experience.

Domestically, Brian Okoth and Abud Omar, both from Kenya Police, along with Amos Nondi and Tobias Knost, will provide depth and versatility.


The midfield lineup is a mix of creativity, grit, and experience. John Ochieng, currently with Zanaco in Zambia, and Eric Johanna from UTA in Romania are expected to drive the team’s playmaking efforts.

Adam Wilson of Bradford City in England adds a dynamic edge to the midfield. Anthony Akumu, currently unattached but with vast experience, could be a key figure if selected for the final squad.

Domestically, Kenneth Muguna (Kenya Police) and Kaycie Odhiambo (AFC Leopards) bring solidity and control.

The squad also features Duke Abuya from Singida in Tanzania and Bruce Kamau of Perth Glory in Australia, who bring international flair and creativity.


In the attack, the Harambee Stars will look to John Avire, who plays for El Sekka El Hadid SC in Egypt, to lead the line. He is joined by Austine Odhiambo and Benson Omala, both from Gor Mahia, who have been in fine form domestically.

Elvis Rupia from Singida in Tanzania, known for his clinical finishing, adds another potent option up front.

Match Previews:

The first clash against Burundi on 7 June is expected to be a tightly contested affair. Burundi has been a rising force in African football, and Kenya will need to be at their best to secure a positive result.

The fixture against African champions Ivory Coast on 11 June promises to be even more challenging.

The Ivorians, with their rich footballing history and a squad brimming with talent, will provide a stern test for the Harambee Stars.

Provisional Squad


Patrick Matasi (Kenya Police), Byrne Odhiambo (Bandari), Boniphas Munyasa (Muranga Seal), Ian Otieno (Zesco, Zambia)


Johnstone Omurwa (Estrela, Portugal), Alphonse Omija (Dhofar-Oman), Amos Nondi (Ararat, Armenia), Brian Okoth (Kenya Police), Abud Omar (Kenya Police), Tobias Knost (SV Verl, Germany)


John Ochieng (Zanaco, Zambia), Eric Johanna (UTA, Romania), Adam Wilson (Bradford City, England), Anthony Akumu (Unattached), Kenneth Muguna (Kenya Police), Kaycie Odhiambo (AFC Leopards), Chrispine Erambo (Tusker), Rooney Onyango (Gor Mahia), Ayub Timbe (Sabail, Azeberijan), Duke Abuya (Singida, Tanzania), Bruce Kamau (Perth Glory, Australia)


John Avire (El Sekka El Hadid SC, Egypt), Austine Odhiambo (Gor Mahia), Benson Omala (Gor Mahia), Elvis Rupia (Singida, Tanzania)

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