NAIROBI, April 27 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's soccer officials named 22 local-based players Friday in the national team Harambee Stars' provisional squad to start training for the forthcoming 2013 Africa Cup of Nations cum 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Among the key players dropped by head coach Francis Kimanzi is custodian Duncan Ochieng who turns up for Safapaka but Thika United striker Kepha Aswani returned to the team.
The side that features six players from domestic champions Tusker FC will be whittled down to 18 when head coach, Francis Kimanzi, announces the final squad before the team plays their next 2014 World Cup and 2013 Nations Cup qualifiers next month.
Patrick Matasi, who features for Kenyan Premier League (KPL) leaders AFC Leopards, will replace Ochieng in the side with Aswani, who has netted seven goals so far for his side making his comeback in the contingent of 22 local players named by assistant coach, Yusuf Chippo.
Football Kenya Limited Vice-Chairman, Sammy Sholei, said the players named were selected owing to their team's performances in the KPL season that enters its 12th round this weekend.
"We have chosen them from the top six teams in the league and we have talked to their clubs to release them to the national team in good time to avoid conflict," he added.
Despite having moved away from Gor Mahia, Collins Okoth has also been named in the team which starts training on Sunday in Nairobi.
Kenya opens her Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign against Malawi at home on June 2 before playing away to Namibia on June 9.
In the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, Harambee Stars will carry a 2-1 advantage when they play Togo away in the return leg on the weekend of June 15-17.
With Kimanzi away to a CAF course in Egypt, Chippo called for a code of conduct to be enforced for players featuring in the national team to improve on their commitment.
"We are seeking ways to make our players concentrate on the national team and have them wear the national colors with pride," Chippo stressed in reference to the latest saga involving team captain, Denis Oliech, who has expressed his desire to quit the side over the use of his image by the team's sponsors East Africa Breweries.
The named squad will converge in on Sunday and will be training until Thursday when they are released to their clubs.
Kenya will welcome Malawi on June 2 in Nairobi for their Africa Group F 2014 World Cup qualifier before travelling to Togo in the return-leg of the 2013 Africa Cup on June 15 in Lome where they are taking a 2-1 advantage from their Feb. 29 clash.
Leopards, Sofapaka, Gor Mahia, and Thika have three players in the squad while, Rangers, Ulinzi Stars and Mathare United have a player each with Kevin Kimani, last year's KPL Player of the Year, the only un-attached player in the squad.