NAIROBI, Kenya, May 1 – Harambee Stars winger Paul Were is thankful that he can at least keep in touch with family and friends through WhatsApp video calls and Instagram live chats to kill the boredom as he grapples with the home-sickness that comes with new life in Greece.
Were moved to the Greek third tier to join AO Egaleo on a six month contract after leaving AFC Leopards in January and the shutdown occasioned by the spread of COVID-19 came in just as he was getting his feet on the ground having featured for four straight games.
“It has been tough to be honest because at some point I felt really unfortunate. I had stayed for a while without playing and when I came here I worked hard to get back on form and I had really picked up well before the league was stopped,” the speedy winger told Capotal Sport from his base in Athens.
He added; “It has been difficult especially because I had just started out and didn’t know many people out here. My teammates live far from me, some with their families and some with parents and the restriction of movement hasn’t made it possible for us to see each other,”
“Of course I miss my family, I miss my friends back home, I miss going out for coffee and relaxing outside because Athens is very beautiful, but this is a situation that we can’t control,”
“But at least I have been talking to some of them and also my national team teammates and also friends back in Kenya most of the time. We have Instagram chats with some players like Ayub (Timbe) Victor (Wanyama), Olunga (Michael) and the rest just to cheer each other up and to kill the loneliness,” noted Were.
He says his prior experiences of staying and grappling with new life alone have come in handy as he has been able to grapple with the situation in Greece and restricting himself to staying and training at home.
He explains that the situation in the Greek capital is quite strict.
“There is a USSD number that has been given by the government and if you want to go out, you must dial the keys and then fill the prompts which ask you what you are going to do outside. After picking your option let’s say number three to go to the supermarket, you get a response with your ‘permit’ to go out,”
“If you are found outside without the permit then you are fined 150 Euros on the spot. So anytime I need to go to the shops or to go jogging, I have to dial the code and get my permission to be out,” he added.
He however hopes the situation will be contained soon especially now that clubs have signaled a return to training by 15th of next month. He admits that the period has taught him a huge deal of mental strength and he still has hope that he will be back to his bursting self.
His contract with Egaleo expires at the end of next month but he says his agent is in talks with the club for an extension after the two months lost due to the virus.
“The plans that I had initially have all been put out as at now because I wanted to do my best here, help the team finish in a good position then take a step up, but now we need to re-look things especially with the contract too. My agent is handling that and hopefully we get something good at the end of it,” stated the former Tusker and AFC Leopards man.
Egaleo are placed ninth in the Greek third tier standings with 27 points, three off the drop zone. They have played 23 matches so far and only three left to complete the season.