Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma quits Gor Mahia for Georgia
Kenyan international and Gor Mahia crowd darling- the marauding left-back Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma has quit the record 15-time domestic champions for European club football in Georgia Citizen Digital has reliably learnt.
The 2016 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) New Young Player of the Year decided to end his time at the local giants after talks to extend his stay at K’Ogalo collapsed.
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The player had also attracted interest from Belgium but the Georgia deal where he has been offered a three-year contract by Premier League side FC Kolkheti appeals more to the youngster who won plaudits and became a favourite of the Green Army in a campaign where Gor were dethroned as league title holders by Tusker FC.
Belgium’s KAA Gent wanted the left back who can also play in an offensive position to try out with them, an option that has left him closer to joining FC Kolkheti who offered him a place in their squad following his emphatic performances with Gor and national team Harambee Stars where he made his debut in June 2016.
The Gent offer came earlier mid last year but Ouma turned it down to play for Gor which gave him his maiden top league platform. At the time, his initial six months contract had expired but extended it for the same period until the end of the season.
In November, he signed a pre-contract with the Georgian side and entered an agreement with them on January 1 committing his future with them.
The Georgia move offers an option for the player to move to Belgium after six months subject to his performance at FC Kolkheti with both deals being brokered by the Sport Innovation Agency which is managed by Roger Henrotay, a former Belgian international.
Henrotay’s agency is reputed for representing among others English Premier League leaders Chelsea goal-keeper Thibaut Courtois and Everton FC winger Kevin Mirallas.
Ouma said he believes it is time to move on for a bigger challenge after a fine run with Gor in the league that saw him break into the national team.
“Of course everyone in Africa dreams of playing in Europe and I’m no exception. I want to fully utilize my potential in better leagues, we have players in Europe who are of the same age playing competitively and I’m no different.
“When I joined Gor in December 2015, I had an aim of moving to USA for studies by April that’s why we opted for six months. It didn’t materialize and in June, I got an offer to join Gent in Belgium but I decided to stay because I wanted to win titles with Gor especially the league and the GOTv Shield.
“It’s unfortunate it never worked out even in the Top 8, but I gave my best in the team. In life you don’t take chances, it was difficult to turn down another European offer without trials, having turned down the other in June. The deal at hand is very promising too,” Ouma told Citizen Digital.
Asked whether he rushed his move from Gor, the former Kakamega High School player reiterated he cannot doubt his decision adding his target to play professional football transcends Georgia.
“I believe I’m destined for greatness and no greatness comes without challenges. I’m ready for the challenge, when I came to Gor many people didn’t believe in me but with a strong mentality and focus it was possible.
“I’m hopeful I will be a big fish in Georgia to move to another small pond elsewhere. It is all about believing in God, your own ability and doing the right thing at the right time,” the soft spoken player emphasised.
“I regret I didn’t win any trophy with Gor. I wish I could stay on to win but some things are inevitable in life. Missed opportunities opens door for another and I can’t wait to join my new team and see what happens there. I hope I will achieve my goals and help them achieve theirs,” Ouma underscored.
Gor will have to plan afresh on how to cope without Ouma with the man he dislodged from the left back position, Rwandese national Abouba Sibomana also leaving K’Ogalo.