NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 23 – Lanky forward Edwin Lavatsa has revealed that lack of call-up to the national football team Harambee Stars motivated him to sign for 11-time Kenyan Premier League champions Tusker FC from Bandari.
Lavatsa, 25, was a regular call-up to Harambee Stars during the Adel Amrouche era in 2013-14, but he did not find favor under Bobby Williamson tenure when he turned out for Algeria’s MC Alger before returning to Kenya to play for Mathare United in 2015.
However, despite having unsuccessful season with Bandari FC in the past two seasons, Lavatsa is confident he will rediscover back his fine form with Tusker FC and hope he captures the attention of Head Coach Paul Put.
“At Bandari my aim was to play in the national team and staying there according to the position they finished you cannot get a place in the national team and that’s why I decided to join Tusker. The club (Tusker) is a big club because it’s a team that is fighting to win the Kenyan Premier League so it’s easier as a player to earn a national teal call-up and develop further,” Lavatsa, who is one of the new 10 players unveiled by Tusker, said.
With Put having already assembled his local team that won the 2017 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup, Lavatsa has an uphill task of proving himself to fight for space with the likes of youngster Vincent Oburu from AFC Leopards, Kariobangi Sharks’ Ovella Ochieng and Masoud Juma who recently joined South African top tier side Cape Town City.
Lavatsa earned his first call-up to the national team during the 2012 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup where he scored his debut goal against Uganda to help Harambee Stars then under the tutelage of James Nandwa come from behind to hold the Cranes 1-1.
Former Gor Mahia forward Timothy Otieno and attacking midfielder Amos Asembeka from Sony Sugar are among the new players joining Lavatsa in the team and the player says it has not been difficult gelling with the new members.
“As players our work is on the field and whoever you get in the team you try and understand them especially in training and the way you play in friendlies but the most important thing is the system that the coach uses,” Lavatsa, who won the Kenyan Premier League, FKF Cup, Super Cup and Top 8 while at Gor said.
He added, “Team work is very important as a player you must have self confidence and the rest will follow. I bring experience in the team to help Tusker win the Kenyan Premier League as well as provide assists and score goals,” Lavatsa who has set a target of notching 15 goals this season stated.
Tusker Head Coach Sam Timbe who is also new in the team says their 1-0 loss to Uganda’s KCCA in friendly was an eye opener to see their weakness before the 2018 KPL campaign.
“It’s a big responsibility that they have given me. I will do my best to see that I lift the team to its respectable place so that we give chance to our players to earn a living and to use this market so that they are seen by other clubs,” Timbe who guided Sofapaka to the 2014 GOtv Shield title vowed.
“I am building a team. I have new players and they need to be taught to be better players who can compete in the bigger clubs. I will work with them to see that we deliver. I will prepare the players to defend Tusker as a brand and have top quality.”
Tusker begin their 2018 Kenyan Premier League campaign with a tricky trip away to Chemelil Sugar.
New Tusker Players:
Apollo Otieno (Chemelil Sugar), Timothy Otieno (GorMahia), Peter Nzuki (Nakumatt), Edwin Lavatsa (Bandari), Bonventure Khasabuli (Muhoroni Youth), Mathew Tayo Odongo (Kariobangi Sharks), Lawrence Kasadha (KCCA), Robert Achema (Western Stima), Amos Asembeka (Sony Sugar) and Erick Ambunya (KakamegaHomeboyz), Vincent Omumbo recalled back to the team after being on loan at Western Stima).