NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 19 – Goalkeeper Gabriel Andika has described his move from Western Stima to AFC Leopards as a dream come true, saying it is a desire he has been harboring since childhood to turn out for Ingwe.
The shot-stopper rose through the Western Stima ranks from winning the Kenyan Premier League Under-20 Championship in 2011 to a first team regular and now hopes a bigger step to AFC Leopards will push him to achieve greater things.
“I really feel great to have joined AFC Leopards because it has been my dream. I have been looking forward to it since I was a kid. I feel I am at peace now and I can’t wait to get started,” the excited custodian told Capital Sport.
He believes Stima have placed him on the map and he has thanked his former club for the role they played in aiding him get to the top.
At AFC he is set to fight for a starting role with Ian Otieno, another top drawer goalkeeper who has been a constant figure in national team call ups.
Andika is not worried but sees it as a challenge which will eventually make him better.
“To me Ian (Otieno) is one of the best goalkeepers in the country I respect him a lot. I know we will work together to give the team the best result and whoever the coach sees fit to wear the number one jersey will be okay,” he noted.
Andika is one of the eight new players signed by AFC head coach Stewart Hall as he looks to strengthen the squad ahead of the start of the 2017 Kenyan Premier League season.
Also joining the squad is the Mathare United duo of Whyvonne Isuza and Robinson Kamura, defender Salim ‘Shittu’ Abdallah and midfielder Duncan Otieno from Posta Rangers, Robert Ndung’u from Muhoroni Youth and striker Vincent Oburu promoted from the AFC junior team.
Ghanaian forward Gilbert Fiamenyo has also linked up with the team. He was signed in August last year but the club had to wait till the transfer window opens to register him.
Meanwhile, defender Kamura said he made the decision to join Ingwe in search of a bigger challenge and he expects it to give him a bigger platform to shine even as he eyes moves to Europe.
“Football and life in general is all about taking risks. I know the demands and the pressure that comes with AFC Leopards are huge and it is for that reason that I joined. I want somewhere I can work harder and it is not to say that I was comfortable at Mathare,” Kamura, a former captain of the Harambee Stars Under-23 team said.
“AFC is a big team with a huge following and many people watch their games. As a player, I have dreams and ambitions to further my career in Europe and this is a platform for me to showcase my talent,” he added.
At the same, AFC Leopards Secretary General Oscar Igaida has hinted that the club will make one more signing before the transfer window closes with their focus pegged on an out and out striker.
“The coach is quite happy because we have delivered what he asked for. We only missed on maybe two targets but overall we are good with what we have. Just one more striker and we will be good to go,” Igaida said.
The club is set to travel to Mumias and Embu for pre-season tours where they will play build-up matches before the season begins.