Austin Odhiambo: Firat explains why he snubbed Gor Mahia midfielder from Harambee Stars squad

FOOTBALL Austin Odhiambo: Firat explains why he snubbed Gor Mahia midfielder from Harambee Stars squad

Joel Omotto 16:32 - 19.03.2024

Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat has defended himself against criticism over his decision to snub Gor Mahia midfielder Austin Odhiambo while putting blame on the player.

Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has suggested that Gor Mahia midfielder Austin Odhiambo was snubbed from the squad due to disciplinary issues.

Odhiambo was among the big names missing from Firat’s squad ahead of the Four Nations Tournament with fans questioning why arguably the best player in the FKF Premier League this season was not included.

However, the Turkish tactician feels the criticism directed his way is unfair since he tried everything to accommodate Odhiambo but his efforts were frustrated by the player’s attitude.

“The Gor Mahia fans, what do they want from their player? A player that is disciplined and does everything for their team, right?” posed Firat during a media briefing on Tuesday.

“So, why should it be different with the national team? It is very simple with Austin, last September he and Stanley [Wilson] were in camp so what happened, he could not get a visa to go to Qatar but I told them we will only be in Qatar for two days so I want them back.

“We came back, Stanley was already there [but] no sign of Austin, no one could reach him. His brother Tyson [Otieno] was here, I asked him where is Austin, he said he doesn’t know which is strange.”

Firat then explained how Odhiambo informed his team that he had malaria at a time he was supposed to be in camp only to be seen playing for his club hours later.

“The next day at 2 pm our team manager gets a message from Austin and he says he has malaria and he has started recovering. I wondered [if] he could recover from malaria in two days, it is not easy,” he added.

“A few hours later, Gor Mahia against Mathare who played, who scored the goal? So, I am wondering now when everybody in the federation knows this and the next day I said the truth to the press. It is no secret and it is clear but I am surprised how someone can write these insults online.”

The tactician then went on to claim that his decisions are now being looked at from a tribal angle when professionalism and performance should be the basis.

“This makes me a little sad but I have been told this is also about tribes. I know nothing about tribes but they speak about it,” he claimed.

“The most important thing about it and AFC Leopards fans wanted me to say this, which I have no answer to. Which team in the last seven weeks is the best in the league?

“Is anyone writing about a player of AFC and they asked me why are they not writing about Victor Omune? But I told them if they are sports supporters then they have to also put Tusker and Bandari in because they are also in good form.

“About Omune, I met him, I talked to him about what is missing and he said he will work hard on it and it is okay because it is what professionals do. Why doesn’t Leopards fans insult me over Omune?”

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