NAIROBI, January 13 – Sofapaka captain John Baraza has announced his retirement from the sport after two decades of top flight football.
The 2004 Africa Cup of Nations veteran was one of the oldest players in the Kenyan Premier League where he has been playing for Sofapaka since 2009.
Baraza took to his Facebook account to announce his retirement as he praised his former coaches and team mates who stood by him in his entire career that saw him win many awards.
“As I walk away from playing the game, I would like to say a big thank you to the people who throughout a long way in my long playing career they helped propel me into a mentionable FIGURE in the football industry, they helped me SCOOP lots of AWARDS and CHAMPIONSHIP medals.”
“So special mention to all coaches that we worked together. To the coaches Manoah, Twahir, Ghost Mulee, Salim, Zico, Kimanzi,Timbe, Davy, Kheri, Bobby, Naggi and many I wouldn’t mention.
“People, Coach Twahir Muhiddin stands out because he never gave up to show me how to score goals even when I kept on missing lots of goals , so sincerely speaking in him I got the art of scoring,”Baraza declared in part of his statement.
He added, “Thanks coach for your trust, your honesty and your passion for pursuit of excellence in me.
“In international circles I would like to thank, coach Ghost Mulee, he gave me the Chance to get on the platform and I think I did not disappoint because we won Cecafa back 2002 and went to Afcon in Tunisia 2004 and over there we managed a win which was commendable.”
Baraza has had an illustrious career which started in earnest in 1994 when he joined Oserian Fastac playing for them until 2002.
In 2003 Baraza moved to Sylvia in Sweden before making a return to Kenya where he joined Tusker and later moved to Chemelil Sugar where he played until 2005.
In 2005 Baraza crossed the border to neighbouring Tanzania where he joined Young Africans(Yanga) where he left an indelible mark scoring goals at will.
In 2006 Baraza moved to Asia where he joined Polis DRM in Malaysia playing until 2007 when he moved back to East Africa and joined Rayon Sports in Rwanda playing until 2008.
In 2009 Baraza moved back to Kenya joining Chemelil before he was lured the same year by Sofapaka as he led them to their first ever Kenyan Premier league win as debutants.
Baraza has bagged 43 caps for Kenya’s national team Harambee Stars playing a crucial role in the 2004 Africa Cup of nations where he scored against Burkina Faso.
He has bagged several awards in Kenya from the Kenyan Premier League footballer of the year award, to several golden boots awards he has been the pinnacle of the striking department for many years.