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Little-known Kenyan youngsters making big strides in football abroad
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|Little-known Kenyan youngsters making big strides in football abroad by Kenyans247(1): Sat 21, March, 2020 09:20am|
The footballers are agile, steadfast and big dreamers, giving them a chance to feature for Harambee Stars could make the 2026 World Cup dream a reality
There are several unknown young Kenyan footballers who are playing a fantastic game in top leagues abroad.
Ideally, some of these players should be integrated in the national team in future since they are presently involved in better leagues. Football Kenya Federation (FKF) is eager for the national team to feature in the 2026 World Cup which will be held in United States, Mexico and Canada. Including the talented players will be a shot in the arm for the team.
Nation Sport takes a look at some of the players that could help turn around the fortunes of the national team in the near future.
Richard Odada – Midfielder at Red Star Belgrade (Serbia)
The 19-year-old midfielder, who has previously played for AFC Leopards Youth, is contracted to Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade. Currently, he is on loan to second-tier side Graficar Belgrade.
He was the captain of the 2018 Afcon Under 20 Qualifiers. He is the typical hard working box to box midfielder. He started out as a striker and, therefore, has an eye for goals and occasionally gets into those attacking areas.
Wilkims Ochieng – Striker at Club Brugge (Belgium)
The 17-year-old Ochieng moved to Belgium with the family at a tender age. He quickly rose up the youth ranks at the top-tier side Club Brugge.
From left: Wilkim Ochieng's mother, Wilkim Ochieng, J & S CEO Patrick De Koster and Club Brugge President Bart Verhaeghe pose for a group photo after the Kenyan youngster signed his first professional contract at the club. PHOTO | POOL
He scored a screamer against PSG in an Uefa Youth League match late last year and officially penned his first professional contract with the club in January.
Wilkims, who has been capped by Belgium at youth level, has in the recent past expressed his desire to feature for Harambee Stars.
Tyler Onyango – Midfielder at Everton (England)
The 16-year-old midfielder has been described as the next Patrick Vieira, who ironically is his idol. Tyler was born and raised in Luton, in the United Kingdom. His father, Evans Onyango, is a former rugby player. Onyango moved to the UK to study, but fell in love and settled over there.
Tyler has also had steadfast growth at the Everton Academy set-ups and has been touted to join the senior team. Even though he is already capped by England at youth level, he is eligible to represent Harambee Stars. Tyler has expressed desire to player for the national team if given the chance.
Michael Gitau – Defender at Middlesbrough (England)
Another prospect that has grown up in the UK and recently joined English second-tier side Middlesbrough is Michael Gitau.
The right-back has previously had spells at Arsenal, Brighton and Crystal Palace. He joined the club early this year on an academic scholarship.
“Gitau is quick, athletic, and smooth in possession. He impressed after a trial,” Middlesbrough said in a statement.
Magnus Breitenmoser – Midfielder at FC Thun (Switzerland)
The 21-year-old central midfielder was born and grew up in Switzerland. He moved to Swiss giants FC Thun from second-tier side FC Schaffhausen early this month.
He has represented Switzerland at under 20 level. Magnus is eligible to don the Kenyan colours. Last season, he played 65 competitive games (61 championship, four cup games) for FC Schaffhausen and scored three goals and made seven assists.
Handwalla Bwana – Midfielder at Seattle Sounders (USA)
The 22-year-old attacking midfielder moved to the US as a refugee in 2010 and has never looked back. After two seasons at University of Washington, he moved to Major League Soccer (MLS) side Seattle Sounders in 2015.
The youngster comes from a humble background having lived at the Kakuma Refugee Camp before moving to the US. He has openly stated his desire to play for Harambee Stars.
Bernard Mwarome – Midfielder at Bonner SC (Germany)
Born to a Kenyan father from the Coast and a German mother, the 21-year-old defensive midfielder has played for Bayern Munich at youth level from 2014 (under 17 and 19) and was promoted to the reserve side in 2016.
He was expected to break into the senior side and trained with them on several occasions but after a series of serious injuries, he was hauled off to lower-tier side FC Augsburg II in 2017. He moved to fourth-tier side Bonner SC in 2018 where he is rediscovering his form.
Henry Ochieng – Midfielder at Cork City (Ireland)
A graduate of the famous West Ham Academy of Football, the 21-year-old highly-rated midfielder was born in London.
Kenya's Emerging Stars midfielder Henry Ochieng' dribbles during at training session at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on November 12 ahead of their Africa Under 23 Cup of Nations/ Olympics qualifier against Mauritius Under 23. PHOTO | DAVID KWALIMWA |
Ochieng made his debut for the Emerging Stars (Kenya U-23) as a second half substitute during the 5-0 thumping of Mauritius in an Afcon U-23 qualifier in 2018. Ochieng's parents, who relocated to England before he was born, hail from Kendu Bay in Homa Bay County.
He has had stints at English lower-tier sides Leyton Orient and Braintree Town before moving to Irish top side Cork City recently.
Erick Mulu – Midfielder at Valez U23 (Spain)
The 18-year-old midfielder, who can play as full-back too, rose through the ranks at the Ngong-road based Ligi Ndogo Academy before moving to Spain mid last year to join the Valez Under 23 side which is associated with Segunda side Malaga FC.
AFC Leopards midfielder Saad Musa has also had successful trials with the club around the same time and is expected to link up with Mulu in the coming months.
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