Timbe Back to Stars Squad against Liberia

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Harambee Stars attacking midfielder Ayub Timbe is fit to start against Liberia at Safaricom Kasarani Stadium on Tuesday.

Timbe, who plays for the Belgian second-tier league side Lierse FC, has been sidelined with a hamstring injury for four weeks. Timbe scored in Lierse’s 2-1 victory over Union Saint-Gilloisa in the Belgian second-tier league on October 15.

According to Harambee Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi, Timbe, who was Kenya’s highest scorer during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification, is fit to play.

“We have finalized our preparations for Liberia match. They (Liberia) have been good and we are ready to take them on. Morale in camp is high. I have seen Timbe train and he is in great shape. He has been cleared to face Liberia,” Okumbi said after final training session at Kasarani on Monday morning.

Asked if Timbe will be in his starting squad, Okumbi said: “I cannot disclose my starting line-up now, but just know Timbe is set.”

Timbe missed Kenya’s last two international assignments against Leopards of Democratic Republic of Congo on October 4 in Kinshasa and Black Mamba of Mozambique on November 12 in Nairobi. Kenya won both matches with 1-0 margins.

The 24- year old midfielder, who arrived on Saturday from Belgium, had his first training session with the team on Sunday.

He scored in the one-all draw against Chipolopolo in Zambia on September 4 and also netted the equalizing goal that inspired Stars to dim Congo Brazzaville 2-1 at Kasarani in June after Prince Oniangue had put the visitors ahead through a penalty.

Eric Johanna scored the winning goal, which effectively quashed Congo’s hopes of advancing to Africa Cup of Nations 2017.

Against Liberia, Kenya will be under pressure to protect their seven-match unbeaten run, five of which have been on home soil.

Harambee Stars, who edged Black Mamba of Mozambique 1-0 last Saturday, have not lost a match since Guinea-Bissau outmuscled them 1-0 at Nyayo stadium on March 27 in Nairobi.

Kenya drew 1-1 against Tanzania’s Taifa Stars and got a similar result against Falcons of Jediane of Sudan in friendly matches held at Kasarani in May this year. Okumbi’s side beat Red Devils of Congo 2-1 in June and defeated Black Mamba 1-0 last week. Both matches took place at Kasarani.

These two sides met during the 1990 Fifa World Cup qualification. Harambee Stars held Liberia’s Lone Stars 0-0 on January 22, 1989 in Monrovia before sinking them 1-0 in front of 30,000 fans at Kasarani.

Kenya currently occupies position 85 in Fifa rankings. They will be in danger of losing ground if they lose or draw against James Debbah’s men, who rank 104 in the world.

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