Sofapaka U20 skipper Edmond Dante Kwanya finally got his senior team debut after getting the nod from assistant coach John Baraza, in the Saturday 11 November Kenyan Premier League (KPL) clash against Tusker FC.
A utility player, Kwanya was introduced in the final ten minutes of the match as the 2009 KPL champions went on to win 1 – 0 and he holds the moment highly, especially since he was thrown into the fray, replacing Brian Magonya, to aid the team hold onto the first half lead that came courtesy of Humphrey Okoti’s goal.
Having waited patiently for his chance all season, Kwanya, who can play both as a central defender and a deep sitting midfielder, says he is more confident now and fired up to work even harder for regular appearances.
“It was long coming but in the end I am happy I got my chance; it was even better because we won and kept a clean sheet. Football is all about patience and taking your chance when it comes. I think I have tasted both and now I am very confident ahead of the coming assignments,” he told Soka.
The youngster hopes to feature again in the final match of the season, when Sofapaka entertains Zoo FC in Narok on Saturday 18 November. Even as he targets a bigger role at the team in future, Kwanya is grateful to the coach who has walked him through – Baraza.
It was under Baraza’s watch as Sofapaka U20 head coach that Kwanya got to lead the youth team, and the player wants to repay his coach’s trust with more impressive performances.
“Baraza has been a key man in my career and it is not just him, the head coach (Sam Ssimbwa) also saw my potential and named me in his squad for the season. I am still growing as a player and learning every day. I want to repay this trust that I have gained and I believe 2018 will be a year of greater things,” he added.
Kwanya joins a band of youngsters at the team who have grown through the ranks, from the U20 side to representing the senior team. These include midfielder Mohamed Kilume, Magonya, Reuben Juma and Samuel Mutiria.