Football Football

Chemelil’s Okumu joins South African side

Joseph Okumu during training with Harambee Stars U-20.
Joseph Okumu during training with Harambee Stars U-20.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18- Chemelil Sugar and Harambee Stars under-20 defender Joseph Okumu will join South African Premier Soccer League (PSL) side Free State Stars after impressing in week long trials.

Okumu, described as ‘Kenya’s next Musa Otieno’ by his club coach Francis Baraza, will officially be a Free State player by the end of the week once the PSL club completes negotiations with Chemelil who had a two-year contract with him.

“There are a few loose ends we are still working on with the South African club but we should be done by the end of the week because the boy has impressed in the trials.

“It is something great for us as a club because he has only been with us for only eight months and at his age, getting a professional deal is immense,” Robert Nyakundi, the Chemelil Sugar chairman told Capital Sport.

Okumu will be the fourth Kenyan to play in the PSL this season with Brian Mandela (Maritzburg United), Ali Abondo, (Ajax Cape Town) and Clifton Miheso (Golden Arrows) already plying their trade down south.

He joined the Sugar Millers at the start of the season, just after clearing his secondary education at Kakamega High School and coach Baraza disclosed that he had been tracking the youngster for a long time prior to signing him in January.

“I first saw him when I was at Western Stima, when we played a friendly match with Kakamega High School. I enquired about him and was told he was in form one and I started tracking his progress. When I went to Muhoroni, I wanted to sign him when he was in form three but then the distance with Kakamega could not allow,” Baraza narrated.

Chemelil's Joseph Okumu in training with Harambee Stars.
Chemelil’s Joseph Okumu in training with Harambee Stars.

Ultimately, he got to sign him up immediately after finishing his High School education and walked straight into the starting team, ahead of experienced players like James Omino.

“I’m sure he will play in South Africa for only two seasons. He is destined for the big European Leagues. He has the height, speed and power all necessary for a good defender and seeing him progress so fast makes me happy because I have nurtured him,” the tactician said.

At Free State, he will be team mates with Tanzanian sensational winger Mrisho Ngassa and coached by former Yanga coach, Belgian Tom Saintfiet.

Free State finished ninth in the PSL last season, a massive improvement from their 14th finish the previous season.