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Were hopes to light up AFC charge on return

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Harambee Stars and AFC Leopards winger Paul Were in action against Posta Rangers’ Charles Odette during their Premier League match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on April 18, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 21 – Paul Were followed in the footsteps of Eugene Asike and David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng and made the decision to return home after stints in Europe as he looks to put up a solid case to be included in Sebastien Migne’s final Harambee Stars squad for the 2019 African Cup of Nations.

Were, nicknamed ‘The Sensational’ returned to his former club AFC Leopards after struggling to get playing time in Greece with top tier side Trikala.

“I think this was the right decision for me to make because while playing abroad, we have so many challenges of our own. I think this will help me to get back on top and I will now need to work harder and keep pushing and I know I will get a chance in the national team,” the speedy winger noted.

Were had been slowly fading off national team colors and was only limited to a few flashy appearances in the run up to the qualification for the 2019 championship and this prompted him to make the decision to take his steps back home.

Were who featured for Tusker FC before moving to AFC in 2012 showed flashes of his brilliant self, making his first appearance in his second coming in last Thursday’s 3-1 win over Posta Rangers in Machakos.

He created two scoring chances for Leopards and had one assist in his 60-minute appearance and has promised there is more to come from himself.

Harambee Stars skipper Victor Wanyama challenges winger Paul Were for the ball during a training session at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on October 12, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“Coming back and making an assist in the first match is a good way to start and this will be a basis for me to keep working hard. I am so happy and excited to be back and the way I have been welcomed by the coach, teammates, management and the fans is just but an encouragement for me,” stated Were.

He has disclosed that he made a decision to come back home after having a talk with Migne and he believes he will take on the challenge to prove that he is still a livewire as much as attacking football is concerned.

“The first thing I did was talk with my family and then I had a talk with Migne who told me that I need more playing time and for me coming back to AFC, a place I call home, was the best decision to make. I am comfortable here and I know I will improve,” further noted Were.

He follows in the footsteps of Ochieng who also joined on a short term after leaving Swedish top tier IF Bromma who were relegated to the second tier.

While with Bromma, Ochieng was limited to only a handful starts and for him, moving back home was the first step in getting back on top and earning trust to be in Migne’s final 23-man team for AFCON.

Harambee Stars and AFC Leopards defender David during his side’s Premier League match against Posta Rangers at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on April 18, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

And Ochieng has immediately made a solid impact at AFC playing in a familiar holding midfield role, one in which he intermittently performed superbly during his stint with Tusker FC and his first years in the national team after his debut in 2012.

With an eye cast for a return to Europe in the summer, Ochieng is confident he can put himself back on top.

Another player who has followed in the footsteps to return home is defender Eugene Asike who had left Tusker at the close of the 2017 season and tried his luck severally in Zambia and Sweden.

He also made the sound decision to return home and has been solid for Tusker helping the former champions to keep back to back clean sheets in his first three matches.

 

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