Swedish club fires back at Harambee Stars defender after his furious bust-up over bench role

Swedish club fires back at Harambee Stars defender after his furious bust-up over bench role

Joel Omotto 11:59 - 13.06.2024

Swedish club AIK has responded to the Kenyan international who termed his lack of game time ‘unfair,’ seeming to point the finger of blame at the former AFC Leopards defender.

Swedish club AIK has responded to Harambee Stars defender Collins Sichenje following his claims that he has been treated unfairly due to a lack of game time despite his availability.

Sichenje expressed his disappointment that he was not being selected at AIK even after overcoming a pre-season injury and being fit to play, having not featured in any of their league games.

AIK coach Henning Berg has preferred Ahmad Faqa, a young defender who recently returned from a loan spell, fueling frustration in Sichenje and uncertainty around his future at the club.

“If I don’t get the chance (to play), I have to leave. It is unfair that I am not allowed to play,” a frustrated Sichenje told Swedish outlet Fotboll Sthlm last month.

However, AIK Sporting Director Thomas Berntsen has fired back, saying the player needs to perform well in training to earn a spot in the team.

"Collins is an ambitious player who trains hard and wants playing time, but it is the coach who selects the team, and I have 100 per cent confidence in them. The players must perform well in training to earn their place in the team. As long as they are at AIK, they must focus on AIK," Berntsen said, as per Swedish publication Fotboll Direkt.

With the player expressing an interest to leave due to his limited opportunities, Berntsen is not closing the door, but feels Sinchenje should be a bit more patient given his injury also contributed to his lack of game time.

"We shall see. We make the decisions that are best for AIK, but of course, we consider the player's wishes as well. Collins wants to play, but you have to remember that he was injured last winter, which took time to recover from. The most important thing for us is AIK, but we always consider our players," added Berntsen.

"It is crucial for our players to focus on AIK and do their best here. That applies to all players. I prefer that our players concentrate on AIK, living like athletes by sleeping well, exercising, and eating properly.”

Berntsen’s remarks are not likely to quell the tension and it remains to be seen how Sichenje will respond.

Sichenje joined AIK from AFC Leopards ahead of the 2022 season and made eight appearances in the Allsvenskan in his debut campaign.

He was loaned out to Finnish club Kuopio Palloseura (KuPS) last year where he made 20 league appearances to be named Young Player of the Season.

Sichenje, who has been linked to Finish and Serbian clubs, was part of the Harambee Stars team during the World Cup qualifiers against Burundi and Ivory Coast but did not feature.