Three African countries – Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana – are among the countries invited to the inaugural President Barack Obama Cup Football tournament in the United States in May.

Other countries invited to the tournament are Mexico and Argentina.

Hosts US, Mexico, Ghana, Argentina and Nigeria will use the event as a build up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup, billed for June-July in South Africa.

Disclosing this Tuesday, Football Kenya Limited (FKL) secretary-general, Thabit Mohammed, said foreign-based professionals, among them Dennis Oliech and McDonald Mariga, would be called up by coach Twahir Muhidin to represent Kenya.

For the Harambee Stars, it will be a different story altogether because Kenya failed to qualify for the World Cup.

They will, however, take pride in featuring in the event because Obama is an American of Kenyan ancestry.

President Obama of the US will open the two-week event to be held in Michigan.

“Since this is a serious tournament that is being played in honour of President Obama who has ancenstral roots in Kenya, we shall send a strong team. We shall also send our professional players like Oliech and Mariga to give our team the true face of Kenya,” said Thabit.

Thabit said the Kenyan squad would be picked at the earliest opportunity, emphasising the need for early preparations.

The team will also embark on preparations for the Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) second-round match against the winner of the match between Uganda Cranes and Burundi.

Kenya sailed into the second round of the continental event after Ethiopia pulled out, citing financial constraints, among other problems.



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