Gor’s Onyango challenges teammates to stamp authority in Cecafa


Ivan Salvador Edu (L) of Equatorial Guinea vies a ball with Joash Onyango of Kenya ...
Ivan Salvador Edu (L) of Equatorial Guinea vies a ball with Joash Onyango of Kenya during their friendly football match at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos, on May 28, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Simon MAINA

In Summary

  • Gor Mahia vice-captain Joash Onyango wants to lift the CECAFA Senior Challenge title and instill more confidence to the big chunk of players featuring in the tournament for the first time, in what he calls “another important adventure” of enlarging the pool of contestants for senior Harambee Stars team.
  • The no-nonsense centre-back was handed the armband for the competition by head coach Francis Kimanzi, in his first Senior Challenge appearance which he opened with a 1-0 victory over Tanzania.
  • Having seen a positive start, Onyango believes it is time for yet another set of Kenyan players to write their names on the CECAFA table of merit.
 Jacob Icia in Kampala

Gor Mahia vice-captain Joash Onyango wants to lift the CECAFA Senior Challenge title and instill more confidence to the big chunk of players featuring in the tournament for the first time, in what he calls “another important adventure” of enlarging the pool of contestants for senior Harambee Stars team.

The no-nonsense centre-back was handed the armband for the competition by head coach Francis Kimanzi, in his first Senior Challenge appearance which he opened with a 1-0 victory over Tanzania.

Having seen a positive start, Onyango believes it is time for yet another set of Kenyan players to write their names on the CECAFA table of merit.

“I’m happy to be here (at Cecafa) moreso as the captain. The 2017 team did their part and won, it’s now our privilege and duty to defend the title. Most of us were not in the winning team but I think it is a big motivation because it’s every player’s desire to play for the national team. The local players here have also a big chance to challenge for a place in the senior team ahead of the March and June 2020 World Cup qualifiers,” observed the soft spoken Onyango.

Poignantly, Onyango said it is never too late for any talented player, who maintains the desire and discipline needed for the national team.

He was referring to his teammate Samuel Odhiambo, the Western Stima goalkeeper who made his national team debut at 34-years on Sunday.

“Odhiambo is big goalkeeper, only that his chance had not come. I talked to him when he was given the chance to start and I underscored he should show our other goalkeepers out there that there is a lot to fight for at the moment in that department. It is encouraging he has opened his account with a clean sheet,” averred Onyango.

FILE: Ebrima Sanneh (L) of Kariobangi Sharks FC goes for aerial ball with Joash Onyango of Gor Mahia FC during their Kenyan Premier League (KPL) match at the Kenyatta stadium in Machakos on February 25, 2018. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha/Citizen Digital

Odhiambo recalls he was last called up by former Harambee Stars coach Antoine Hey 10 years ago, although he never made the final squad.

“It’s long time ago, but I have never lost the hunger to play for the national team. I thank God and the coach for believing in me. Everyone has got his time, and I think this is my time,” a smiling Odhiambo told Citizen Digital in Kampala.

Interestingly, Odhiambo was not in Kimanzi’s plans for the competition, until Kariobangi Sharks’ goalie Brian Bwire pulled out due to a reported hip injury.

Within the one week residential camp, Odhiambo convinced the technical bench he deserved a place in the first team, and he wants to do more.

“We have not been having longevity of goalkeepers in the national team recently. It is a position that is open to the cseveral talented players we have so I want to hold onto it,” said Odhiambo.

He points out that discipline and hard work kept his dream alive in the odyssey to his Harambee Stars breakthrough, a virtue he sells to players with desire to excel in their spheres.

 

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