Harambee Stars midfielder Chris Mbamba has edged closer to making his ‘dream’ senior international debut after successfully processing his East African passport from the Immigration department within a day.
Thus, the 26-year old will on Thursday morning join his new teammates and head to Accra, Ghana to compete in Saturday’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification match against the Black Stars
South African-based defender Brian Mandela is doubtful for the match after picking an injury during Wednesday’s training.
Asian based attackers Micheal Olunga and Ayub Timbe are all out injured, but team captain and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, Victor Wanyama is available.
Timbe’s absence could open the door for Mbamba, who was born in Zimbabwe, to a Namibian father and Kenyan mother.
The lanky attacker received his football education in Sweden and also enjoyed a short stint at English side Port Vale.
Despite featuring for Sweden in the age group matches, he elected to play for Kenya at senior level and has gone on to impress Stars coach Sebastian Migne since arriving in Kenya while traveling on a Swedish passport on Sunday.
He is however required by football laws to use an East African passport for identification in all international matches involving Harambee Stars.
This prompted Migne to issue an appeal to the authorities on Tuesday to fast track processing the player’s Kenyan Passport as per the laws of dual citizenship.
“He is a very good player. I want to appeal to the government to help him get dual citizenship because he is very promising and good enough to be on the final list to the Africa Cup of Nations,” said Migne.
The immigration department heeded that call, and Nation Sport understands senior figures at the Nyayo House-based parastatal stepped in and processed this crucial travel document within a day.
“We are very thankful for this support and tonight we will be sending a notification to Fifa to clear the boy so that he can play against Ghana. He is very talented, hardworking and disciplined. He deserves a chance,” said Football Kenya Federation president Nick Mwendwa.
Kenya has already qualified for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations set for Egypt in June, but need to beat Ghana to top the three-team qualification pool, which also includes Ethiopia.