NAIROBI, Kenya, May 24- The excitement was written all over his face as he landed on Kenyan soil for the first time in his life at 11:16pm on Monday night despite a long tiring flight from Madrid to Nairobi via Amsterdam.
New Harambee Stars call up Ismail Said Athuman Gonzalez arrived in Kenya’s capital on the invitation of head coach Stanley Okumbi as Kenya looks to hand him his first ever international cap.
Born in the Canary Island, Spain to a Spanish mother and a Kenyan father, the 21-year old is yet to be capped at senior level despite rising through the youth ranks at Spanish club CD Las Palmas from the age of five.
But now, the defensive midfielder has a chance to represent the country of his father’s birth after accepting the invite from Okumbi.
“I am excited because since when I was small, I wanted to come to Kenya and play football here, where my father was born. When the coach talked to me, I was very happy and I could not say no. It is my first time being in Kenya and I have to admit I am looking forward to getting onto the training ground,” Gonzalez said as he exclusively spoke to Capital Sport upon arrival in Nairobi.
His first question after exchanging pleasantries with the Football Kenya Federation representative Ken Okaka who had picked him was; “when is training”, clearly understating his ambition to get right into work, even declining a morning rest he was accorded.
“I don’t know much about Kenyan football, I only know of Victor Wanyama because back in Spain my mates always tell me of Wanyama who is Kenyan like me. I can’t wait to play with him because he has a big name in the English League.”
Gonzalez has previously had unsuccessful trials in the English Premier League with Manchester City.
He finished his season on loan to Spanish side Segunda B side CP Cacereno but looks to return back to his parent club Las Palmas which finished 11th in the Spanish La Liga.
“I have never played for the senior Las Palmas team before, only the youth team. Now next season, I will go back to the team and hopefully I fight for my place in the team because I think I have picked lots of experience in Cacereno,” the midfielder noted.
He will have to fight for a place in the senior team with the likes of captain Wanyama, Zambian based Anthony Akumu, Gor Mahia’s Collins ‘Gattuso’ Okoth and Tusker FC’s Humphrey Mieno.
He is however not afraid of competition and spoke of his desire to work hard and get a place in the team.
“Hopefully I play on Friday or Sunday, I don’t know. I just want to get to training, work hard and see if I can get a place to play. It will be a happy day for me and a dream come true,” he added.