On weekdays, Bernard Mang’oli can be seen walking along the streets on Kenyatta University just like thousands of other students heading to the lecture hall or the library. But unknown to many students, Mang’oli is a star player for one of the top football premier league teams, AFC Leopards. The third year Bachelor of Science in Community Development student prefers the low profile. Only a few ardent football fans that follow the premier league would recognize him.
Due to his unique tirades in the field of play, he has earned himself several call-ups to the national team Harambee Stars in recent months. He has represented both the senior side and the Under-23 side. His consistency is his strongest attribute in addition to precision in passing and link up play which has earned him plaudits and acclaim. Admittedly, he has talent but he admits that without hard work and commitment he wouldn’t be anywhere near where he is today.
“Talent is everywhere in the world but it takes motivation to bring the best out of talent,” he admits.
The young playmaker’s career has always been on the rise. After high school, Mango’li joined JMJ Football Academy in Nairobi before catching the eyes of AFC Leopards football scouts. He signed for the Leopards in 2010 and has played for them ever since. He is very passionate about the team that commands a huge fan base across the country.
Like every footballer’s dream, he wishes to ply in one of the major European leagues in future.
“I have gone for a few trials…hopefully I will get more opportunities in the future,” says the tactical midfielder.
He supports FA premier League giants Manchester United while he admires the club’s instrumental midfielder Michael Carrick even though he is frequently compared to Paul Scholes, due to his precise passing and ability to hit the target from long distances.
Statistics show he is nearly a complete player. His ball distribution is superb and he has a remarkable goal scoring record for a midfielder. His greatest individual achievement is being named AFC Leopards best player in the 2011-2012 season.
He was also nominated as the ‘Best Midfielders Award’ in the Tusker Premier League for the season 2012-2013. His most memorable moment as a player is scoring in the Kenya vs Guinea under 23 years game last year.
He feels Kenyan football has room for growth and there is potential for improvement.
“Kenyan football is on a good trend currently. There is an influx of foreign players and fan support is amazing. Sponsorship deals are lucrative, as well as remuneration packages, which really motivates players. With good dedicated management and commitment from all parties involved, nothing can stop Kenyan football from rising,” says Mang’oli.
Mang’oli feels nothing but total gratitude for all the coaches he has played under. He believes they are all special in their own way. He reminisces about his high school coach who had to force him into training on several occasions.
“I used to skip training sometimes to study,” he says.
Although challenging, he says he does his best to juggle between the field and the lecture hall so as to get the best out of both. He appreciates all those who have always supported him including his family and friends and will continue to give his best