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Kakamega’s Joshua Otieno set for US stint

Kakamega Homeboyz’s Joshua Otieno controls the ball under pressure from St Antony Boys’ Silas ‘Kante’ Ogana during their National Secondary School Games match at the Hill School in Eldoret on July 25, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 30- Kakamega High School midfielder Joshua Otieno is set to travel to the United States in September after the East Africa School Games for a scholarship according to his coach Brendan Mwinamo.

Otieno who was part of Kenya’s All-Star team that travelled to play Hull City’s reserves last year in the United Kingdom starred for Kakamega as they won the Kenya National Secondary School Games football title in Eldoret last week.

“Joshua will be leaving around September 15 for the United States. He is going for a scholarship that will also include playing football. It will either be in Michigan or Colorado and we are very happy with that opportunity. Life is about grabbing the opportunities when they come and one has presented itself for Joshua, let him take it,” Mwinamo told Capital Sport.

The midfielder sprung to the limelight after starring for the Sony Sugar Under-19 team during last year’s Kenyan Premier League Under-19 tournament leading to his selection to the Kenyan team to Hull where he went on to remain for a training stint with the club’s junior team.

Kakamega High School coach Brendan Mwinamo issues instructions to midfielder Joshua Otieno during their National Secondary School Games final at the Hill School in Eldoret on July 28, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

He has been playing for the Green Commandos in the National Super League where he has also been a star player, helping them to stay afloat in their debut season.

“Players will always come and go so Joshua’s exit will not be a huge blow for us. Very many good players have come through my hands and I have gone on to bring others. We will go back to school and get others to replace him. For us is to wish him well because that is our joy seeing our players prosper,” Mwinamo stated.

Otieno meanwhile says he is ready for his next career challenge and says playing in the NSL has contributed a lot to him scaling the heights.

“The NSL has really helped me grow because it is a challenging league with experienced players. We are a young team but still we manage to get good results and play well. I feel I am a better player this year,” Otieno says adding that several teams have knocked on his door asking for his services.

Southampton Global Football Development Manager Andrew Martino has a chat with Joshua Otieno during the opening day of the training camp on APril 24, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

The midfielder reflects on his life changing experience in Hull where he says the coaches instilled a lot of confidence in him, pointing out it is at this point he affirmed that football was what he wanted to do for a living.

“It was a great experience. I contained myself and wasn’t overly excited lest I miss out on the opportunity of learning. The coaches kept encouraging me and telling me I have the talent so I just need to work harder,” Otieno narrates.

He adds; “To me that was like a push into belief. It gave me some new strength and I came back home with more determination to make it at the top.”

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Otieno whose love for football was fueled on the line of duty as a ball boy at Sony Sugar’s home ground in Awendo hopes he can follow the footsteps of the likes of Victor Wanyama and his elder brother MacDonald Mariga.

Joshua Otieno remained in Hull City to train with the English Premier League side Academy.PHOTO/courtesy

“I have dreams, I have ambitions and I will work hard to fulfil them. I know I have the ability. It is just a matter of hard work,” the shy and soft spoken 17-year old says.

He also affirms that moving to Kakamega High from Awendo proved to be a masterstroke in the growth of his footballing career, noting it has placed him on the path he so much desired.

“After finishing primary school I wanted to go to a High School where I could also play football and when the chance of joining Kakamega came, I couldn’t resist. It was a good decision coming here,” added Otieno.

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