NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 29- Former Gor Mahia midfielder Rama Salim hopes he can inspire Harambee Stars to victory over DR Congo in the friendly match slated for Tuesday next week in Lubumbashi.
Salim returned to the team for the first time since the African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier in January 2012 against Burundi in Nairobi.
The midfielder, who turns out for Slovakian third tier side MFK Topvar Topoľčany, says it is a big honor for him to be recalled and eyes getting a slot in coach Stanley Okumbi’s first X1.
“It is the desire of any player to play for the national team. The coach has shown faith in me and I look forward to another positive adventure with the boys,” Salim told Capital Sport after the team’s early morning training session at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.
Okumbi says he has been monitoring clips of the midfielder’s games in Slovakia and is confident he will bring a new dynamism to the team’s attack, something that has been missing.
“We have been looking for a very good number 10 and Rama (Salim) brings that quality to the team. We have been following up on him and we thought it wise to call him up and so far, looking at him in training, I am pleased with what he has to offer,” Okumbi said.
Salim believes he is in good shape having settled down in Slovakia after different adventures in Qatar and Dubai and hopes he can ride on his form to become a mainstay in the national team.
“At the moment I am enjoying my football because I am playing more regularly and I am settled down. At first it was not easy for me but as a professional footballer, you need to adapt quick and I did it,” Salim outlined.
“I would like my return to influence the team positively and if we can be able to win against Congo on Tuesday, it will make it even sweeter and I am hoping this is a start to many more.”
His Slovakian club placed fourth on the 19-team 3 Liga on 22 points, three off leaders Puchov is chasing promotion to the second tier and Salim hopes he can play his part positively to help them earn promotion.
“Progress is something that drives any player. It is my hope to not only progress to the top tier of Slovakian football but any major European League. I am working hard at it and I am positive I can achieve it. I am still trying to improve myself,” the former Congo United captain added.
In Okumbi’s system, Salim who can play as either a deep-lying midfielder or on either wing might slot in behind the strikers with both Michael Olunga and Jesse Were enjoying fine form at their clubs.
Salim is the only foreign based player who has linked up with the team in training with the Zambian based trio of Were, David ‘Calabar’ Owino and Anthony Akumu expected on Friday, alongside USA based David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng.
Players plying their trade in Europe are expected to link up with the team in Lubumbashi, straight from their bases as they have matches this weekend.