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Origi keeping afloat in Finland lockdown

Goalkeeper Arnold Origi during warm up in a past Harambee Stars match. PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 – Former Harambee Stars goalkeeper Arnold Origi says he is doing his best to remain fit while dealing with the lockdown and restrictions imposed in Finland where he is currently stationed, turning out for top tier side HIFK Fotboll.

Just like Nairobi, movement has been restricted in Finland with social gatherings prohibited as the whole world continues to fight in efforts to contain the spread of the new novel coronavirus.

“At the moment all we are doing is individual training to ensure we remain fit. But at least for us, gyms are still open but with very restricted numbers. So I divide my time between the gym and training in the house. There is not much ball-work we can do so it’s an issue of just maintaining some bit of fitness,” Origi told Capital Sports from his base in Helsinki.

He adds; “Definitely it is hard because football is all about teamwork and we are used to training as a group. But it is the situation the whole world finds itself in and we should do our best to follow the rules.”

Origi’s side HIFK were in Turkey for pre-season training when the virus began to gather pace and once they returned to their base in Helsinki, they were all sent into the mandatory 14-day self-isolation period.

Thankfully, all his teammates are okay and everyone is focused on maintaining fitness picked up in the pre-season camp.

The Finnish Veikkausliiga has protracted a return to action for the beginning of June while primarily, clubs are looking at May 13 as a possible date to resume training.

At the same time, Origi says he is doing his best to ensure teammate and Harambee Stars youngster Sydney Lokale remains in focus despite the fact that they live in different areas.

“Lokale lives like 20 minutes away from where I stay. I personally prefer staying out of town but because he is new, the club got him an apartment close to the training ground so it becomes easy for him to move around.

“I am constantly talking to him because I know that sometimes it gets very tough for a new player in Europe and the good thing with him is that he is a focused boy and also doing his best to remain okay. It is sad that this virus came in just as he was starting to gel into the team but I know he will get back to rhythm,” the keeper opined.

The Kariobangi Sharks forward joined HIFK on loan in January for the rest of the 2020 season which had been protracted to start last weekend.

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About international return, Origi is still non-committal on a possible return to Harambee Stars despite rumors that he is being considered by coach Francis Kimanzi for the next round of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers.

“At the moment I will just leave it at that. We will address that issue when the dates for the qualifiers are announced,” Origi who has 38 caps for Harambee Stars said.

With the new constitution allowing for dual citizenship, Origi who also has a Norwegian passport is eligible to make a return to Stars.

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