NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2- Harambee Stars head coach Stanley Okumbi has challenged Ulinzi Stars striker John Mark Makwatta to replicate his club form at national team, as he named him in the final 20-man squad that travelled to Ndola for Sunday’s African Nations Cup qualifier against Zambia.
Makwatta, who has scored 12 goals in 21 league matches for Ulinzi, made his national team debut last Tuesday in a friendly against Uganda Cranes in Kampala, coming on as a substitute in the final 15 minutes.
“He played very well in that short period that he came in and I was impressed with his output. For him, I think it is now time to show what he does at club level in the national team. He scores goals and works hard and now, we have given him that chance to do the same for the country,” Okumbi said.
Makwatta has taken up the challenge and is working hard to prove himself and get more call ups and possibly finally get his name on the score sheet in Kenyan colors.
“It was a huge day for me finally turning out for the national team. The experience has been good and above all I have learnt a lot playing with more experienced players. I have an ambition to get more call ups and possibly get to score,” the former City Stars forward noted.
“There is the CECAFA Senior Challenge Coming up and I want to work hard and see whether I can get a call up and get to play. It will be a good starting point for me,” he added.
His target remains getting to the 20 goal mark in the Kenyan Premier League and with eight matches to go, he believes he can average a goal-per-game to achieve his ambition.
“I know I can make it and I will work hard to achieve it. It’s not very difficult. We have a good team and we always work hard. I believe if I do my part, I will get to score those eight goals,” a confident Makwatta stated.
He also stands an opportunity to achieve his best ever scoring return, having scored 14 goals last season and beating team-mate Stephen Waruru as the best goal scorer in a season for the military side.