Bristol City’s Zak Vyner denied debut in Kenya as head coach slams referees’ mistakes

Kenya head coach Engin Firat has criticized unnamed national FA officials after Bristol City defender Zak Vyner was unable to make his Harambee Stars debut because his new passport was not processed in time.

Vyner has returned to the west of the country after training with Kenya in preparation for World Cup qualifying matches against Burundi and Ivory Coast. He had been considered for a starting place in Friday’s 1-1 draw against the former, but was denied a first international appearance because a deadline to submit relevant paperwork was missed, leaving him ineligible to play.

The 27-year-old was born in London but qualifies through his mother and considers himself half-Kenyan. Therefore, it is a serious blow for the popular centre-back, both personally and professionally, and he will probably have to wait until September, when he can be called up next, as the qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations are about to begin. Nations.

“We did all our tactical training with Zak Vyner. If Zak had been on the field today, we would have won,” Firat said, as reported by Pulse Sports. “Sometimes people need to focus less on what’s happening in the field and more on doing their job correctly. Things that seem simple can be very complex here in Kenya.”

Vyner, a regular in the Robins defense for the past four seasons, was to be named in the Kenya squad among three new players, which also included German defender Tobias Knost, who suffered a similar fate.

“We have five or six injured players, but today, three players who were not injured were also lost due to some mistakes that were made,” Firat added.

It means Vyner will be able to return to pre-season with Bristol City later this month, with the Robins due to return for trials in just over a fortnight. Had he played in any of the matches for Kenya, he would potentially have been given additional time off, as will be the case for Tommy Conway and Ross McCrorie following their inclusion in Scotland’s Euro 2024 squad.

Jason Knight (68 minutes) and Mark Sykes (11 minutes) played for the Republic of Ireland in their two friendlies against Switzerland and Hungary, while goalkeeper Max O’Leary was on the bench in the final match.

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