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Ulinzi and Harambee Stars striker Oscar Wamalwa celebrates a goal during the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala, Uganda. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Football

Virus shutdown a ‘blessing in disguise’ for Ulinzi’s Wamalwa

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – Ulinzi Stars striker Oscar Wamalwa says he looks at the coronavirus, that has occasioned sports shutdown as a blessing in disguise, though he also feels sad for his fellow players who cannot earn a living with cancellation of leagues.

The Harambee stars forward had picked up a nasty shoulder injury that required surgery, something that was set to lock him out of national team selection for the upcoming fixtures, coming at a time when head coach Francis Kimanzi had earmarked him for a considerable role.

The lanky forward was one of Kenya’s shining lights at last year’s CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Uganda where he emerged as the top scorer, scoring three goals and assisting once as Stars finished third.

“I was really sad when I picked up that injury shortly after coming from CECAFA and I was heartbroken. I had waited for 28 years to have this chance in the national team and it looked to be slipping away from my hands, but again, there is nothing we could do about it,” Wamalwa told Capital Sport.

Ulinzi and Harambee Stars striker Oscar Wamalwa receives treatment after picking up a head injury during the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala, Uganda. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

With the injury, Wamalwa would have missed Stars’ back-to-back 2021 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers against Togo and Comoros. Kimanzi had hoped to use the forward’s ability at the two matches and was optimistic he would have huge impact.

“I think I am really impressed with him and he is the kind of guy who can help us solve our problems upfront. We have also been wondering who can help Olunga (Michael) or Jesse (Were) and now he has thrown himself at us,” Kimanzi said after the CECAFA tournament in Uganda.

Adding; “I would love to see him developing more at the club level and hopefully they can continue giving him more opportunities and good coaching. He is someone that can really help us.”

But with the matches postponed, Wamalwa has been given a window to recover and get fit in time to be part of the squad again once football returns after the coronavirus is over and dealt with.

Ulinzi and Harambee Stars striker Oscar Wamalwa during the 2019 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala, Uganda. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

“For me I am happy that I have enough time to recover but again, I am sad for my fellow players who have lost an opportunity to make ends meet at this time. It has been a difficult time for all sports people in the world and I hope it will be over soon,” he stated.

As he waits for football to return, Wamalwa who is recuperating from the surgery he underwent 10 weeks ago will work to get his fitness back.

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“So far I have removed the sling from my hand and I am concentrating on the physiotherapy bit of it. The arm can at least move now but not to well. But hopefully by early June I should be able to do a few things like running,” Wamalwa noted.

The striker is still hopeful of getting a chance in the national team and has vowed to work hard to earn Kimanzi’s trust again.

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