NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2- Throughout his childhood, 21-year-old Joshua Lelan Kipkemboi had always dreamt of donning the jersey of the country of his father’s birth, Harambee Stars, even as he started his football journey in the youth ranks of Derby County.
The versatile defender finally managed to achieve that long standing dream on Tuesday, August 30 when he made his debut for the Harambee Stars, coming on as a 80th minute substitute for Musa Mohammed in Kenya’s 0-0 draw with Uganda Cranes in an international friendly in Kampala.
“It was a great feeling; you can’t really explain or understand it not unless you are in that situation. It was quite a day for me and my family especially making it to Uganda and playing in that match. That was great,” an excited Lelan, nicknamed Josh by his new team mates told Capital Sport.
The memories of that now infamous call he received to inquire of his availability join up with the team still linger on his mind.
“My dad’s been telling me for years about Harambee Stars and how special they are to the Kenyan people. It’s always been on my mind to play but there still hadn’t been a situation for me where I can play.”
“I got my Kenyan passport a couple of years ago in the hope the opportunity can come up and finally the federation reached out to me.”
“I was in close communication with one of the coaches for a while. He said to me ‘would you be interested’ and straight away I said yes. I spoke to my dad and family and they encouraged me on coming to play for Kenya. The feeling was special.” Lelan opined.
He now hopes to get more call ups with priority in his targets being to help Kenya qualify for the 2019 African Cup of Nations
“Moving forward I want to record a solid name with Kenya and help the team move to the nations Cup in 2019. This is a really special group of players; very talented footballers with some big names like Victor and I’m confident we have the right ingredients to make it,” Lelan affirmed.
He is currently a free agent having left Northampton Town which qualified for League One, the third tier of English Football after winning the League Two championship. He started off his career in the Derby County Academy and has had spells with Gateshed and Swindon Town.
He confided to Capital Sport that he is looking at several opportunities which have presented themselves, having had trials with League One side Gillingham and League Two’s Plymouth and Argyle as well as Swedish 3rd tier side Vasteras SK.
“Probably after the game in Zambia I will go back to England and have talks with my agent, we look at what is on the table and make a decision. But there’s quite some interest,” he added.