Former Laiser Hill winger John Macharia now features for Kariobangi Sharks and is definitely one to look out for
Top ten youngsters to look out for
By Vincent Stephen | Tue 20 Dec, 2016 15:00

History has it that a big chunk of promising talents in both the Kenyan and Women Premier Leagues are nurtured in schools. Over the years, we have seen youthful players coming out of school to stamp their authority in the competitive leagues.

From Michael Olunga, now at IF Djurgardens in Sweden to Mwanahalima Adam and Neddy Atieno who are regulars in the Kenya women national team.

In the months of July and August some of the most followed competitions in the country, the Airtel Rising Stars and the East Africa Secondary Schools Sports Association games were held in Kenya, staged in Kisumu and Eldoret respectively.

Laiser Hill and St. Johns’ Kaloleni bagged the national titles while Kenya’s Barding High and GS Remera from Rwanda went home with the boys’ and girls’ football gongs.

Over 200 players took part in the tournament and a number showed some good promise to be stars of the future and here’s a highlight of the ten most promising stars to keep an eye on in the coming years.

Name: John Otieno

School: Barding High School

Class: Form Three

Y.O.B: 2000

Position: Goalkeeper

Otieno featured in ten matches at both the national and East Africa School Games, conceding just one goal. The youngster was undoubtedly one of the outstanding goalkeepers across the tournaments, despite facing stiff competition from Laiser Hill’s Emmanuel Juma at the nationals.

Given time, and nurtured well, he can become one of Kenya’s long time shot stoppers following the footsteps of Duncan Ochieng’ and Arnold Origi who have 58 and 35 caps for the National team Harambee Stars respectively.

Name: Elvis Osok

School: Kamukunji High School

Class: Form Four

Y.O.B:  1999

Position: Defender

Kamukunji High did not make it to the national school games but was one of the best teams in the County championships held at Starehe Boys and Eastleigh High. One of the players who stood out in the team was the team Captain Elvis Osok, nicknamed Calabar.

Osok, a utility player, was used as a winger, midfielder and a defender in the games. His best position however happens to be in defence.

Osok is a strong tackler, he is athletic and defensively diligent. Rumor has it that he has been earmarked by a number of KPL and second tier clubs.

Name: Onyango Arnold

School: Barding High School

Class: Form Two

Y.O.B: 2001

Position: Defensive midfielder

Onyango is a budding defensive midfielder who possesses three key qualities; awareness, great control and strong defensive skills. The midfielder played a vital role in the team’s title winning run with crunch but fair tackle as well as denying opponents easy penetration.

Though not the tallest in the team, his work rate in midfield covers for the qualities he lacks in height. He was named the national school games MVP and his focus remains to break into the major European leagues as soon as he is done with studies.

“My ambition is to play in Europe, locally, maybe Gor Mahia or Tusker but I am hopeful that I can make it in Europe and achieve in football to help my community. Being an orphan, I have been brought up by different people so it will be nice if I give back,” he notes.

Name: James Kinyanjui

School: Passenga Secondary School

Class: Form Four

Y.O.B: 1998

Position: Attacking midfielder

Kinyanjui is a box-to-box midfielder. His technique in ball passing and tackling is unique. His runs and touch are fantastic and he is definitely headed in the right direction. He could head to Thika United once he clears High School as the KPL side are closely monitoring his situation having featured for the club’s junior team in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) U20 competition.

“Achieving in the world of football is any player’s dream and so is the case with me. That’s the only hope I see in helping my humble family,” he states.

Name: John Macharia

School: Laiser Hill

Club: Kariobangi Sharks

Y.O.B: 1999

Position: Winger

Macharia always dreamt of playing at the national school games, and aiding Laiser Hill to win the 2016 tourney may pass as his most memorable moment. The left-footed player already has his star shining, with a junior team cap and a number of league appearances for Kariobangi Sharks – a club that snatched his services days before completing his International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) in June 2016. He made his international debut for Kenya national U20 team in a 2017 Africa U20 Cup of Nations qualifier against Sudan in April 2016.

A creative midfielder, Macharia can play as a winger on either flank. He says; “Europe should be the next stop in my career, perhaps Arsenal or any better outfit in Europe will do for me.”

Name: Victor Omondi Ogendo

School: Friends School Bukembe Secondary School

Class: Form Four

Y.O.B: 1998

Position: Forward

The Kenya U20 call up was one of the surprise packages at the nationals, scoring seven goals in five matches on his first appearance at the tournament. The former Makhuyu Primary School pupil showed prime instincts of a striker; bullying defenders and making the most of any slim chances coming his way.

Omondi, born on 11th June 1998 can play in a variety of positions on the field of play but this time round, he was preferred as the main man upfront and proved why he deserved to wear jersey 10 in the competition.

He is already under contract at second tier side Nzoia United but Western Stima and Mathare United are keen on snapping him up once he is done with his final exams in November.

Name: Lilian Awuor

School: Nyakach Girls

Class: Form two

Y.O.B: 2000

Position: Goalkeeper

The 16-year-old goalkeeper has been termed one of the upcoming top custodians for the national team – Harambee Starlets.

Awuor, while captaining Nyakach did well at the national school games, with a performance that earned her a call to the Starlets team that reached the final of the 2016 CECAFA Women’s Championships in Uganda.

 Name: Winfred Achieng’

School: St. Johns’ Kaloleni Girls

Class: Form Four

Y.O.B: 1997

Position: Midfielder

Achieng’ was the pillar in her school’s midfield department, supplying the passes to the forwards as the team eventually bagged its maiden ARS girls’ football title. Despite falling at the last hurdle in the regional finals in Eldoret, Achieng’ will be looking forward to a bright future if her qualities are anything to go by. She plays for Mombasa Olympic in the FKF Women Premier League.

 Name: Judith Musimbi

School: Wiyeta Girls

Class: Form Four

Y.O.B: 1997

Position: Attacker

Musimbi was one of Wiyeta’s key players in the last two editions of the school games. In 2015, she netted five goals to help the Trans-Nzoia based school clinch the ARS girls’ football title and in 2016, helped the school reach the final, only losing to St. Johns’ Kaloleni.

Her pace, dribbling skills and eye for goal is what caught the attention of many scouts. She was one of the players selected to train with Harambee Starlets once she is done with her final secondary school exams in November 2016.

 Name: Christine Kitaru

School: Nginda Girls School

Class: Form Three

Y.O.B: 2000

Position: Striker

Kitaru has scored seven goals in the last two editions of the national school games, held in Machakos and Kisumu. She is good on the ball and has vision for goal. Her fine performance handed her the 2016 ARS Most Valuable Player (MVP) accolade.

She currently plays for Thika Queens in the FKF Women Premier League.

 Name: Jamine Kahindi

School: Olympic High School

Class: Form Two

Y.O.B: 2000

Position: Defender

Kahindi was one of the outstanding defenders in the Olympic High School girls’ team that won the Metropolitan region school games to book a ticket to the nationals held in Kisumu. Her discipline is top notch and she always shows high concentration while on the pitch. She played a vital role in the school’s backline, which was corroborated, by her coach, Joseph Orao;

“She is one of the players that stood out for the team, without her, reaching the nationals would have been a tall order. She is good on the ball and concentrates full time. Her discipline has her as the only girl not to have been carded since her days in primary school,” stated Orao on the Kibera based Manqueens FC player.

This article originally appeared on the fourth edition of the Soka Magazine

Soka Magazine  
Vincent Stephen

Twitter: @vincentsopiyo


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