Kenya has a new representative in the European football scene. Young defender Joseph Okumu is the latest star to ply his trade in Europe after he joined Swedish top tier side IF Elfsborg on a yet to be revealed duration on Wednesday 28 August.
The 22 year old defender put pen to paper with the six time Swedish champions to end a two year stay in the lower leagues of North America and now settles at a country that has been kind to a large number of Kenyan’s past and present stars.
Robert Mambo, MacDonald Mariga, Victor Wanyama, Eric Johanna and Michael Olunga have all had or are having stints in the Scandinavian nation with varying success.
Okumu, who left the local scene to join the pro ranks almost as immediately as he had arrived for Chemelil Sugar (his only club in Kenya) after impressing for Kakamega High School, now has the opportunity to trudge on a similar path as Olunga, Wanyama or Mariga, who left Sweden to attain greater things in Spain, England and Italy respectively.
In a Facebook post the lanky defender, who was one of Kenya’s bright lights at this year’s AFCON championships, thanked among others, Kakamega High School and Chemelil Sugar for the part that they had played in molding him to become the player that he is today.
“I am thrilled to announce that I have agreed to a transfer and a move to IF Elfsborg, and I have many thanks to give for this opportunity,” Okumu wrote.
“I am very thankful to the Almighty God for how far He’s brought me. To my mom, my dad, my sisters, my brother, and my entire family- thank you. I love you and I could not have come this far without you.
“Thank you Kakamega School and Chemelil Sugar FC for molding me as a young person and player. Thank you to AFC Ann Arbor, to Coach Rudland, and the entire AFCAA family, a top class club and a great pathway to bigger things,” read the post in part.
Okumu graduated from high school in 2014, the same year he helped Green Commandos to the secondary school ball games title and was immediately snapped-up by Chemelil Sugar. He featured for the side until 2016 where he left and joined Free State Stars of South Africa.
Journey to Europe
He stayed for a year before joining AFC Ann Arbor of the USA’s 4th tier. His impressive showing for the side saw him move to Real Monarchs, which is the feeder team of MLS side Real Salt Lake, in less than a year with Ann Arbor.
In Sweden he now joins former Kakamega High School teammate Eric Marcelo Ouma who plies his trade in the country’s 3rd tier with Vasalund.
Vasalund is also home to former KPL stars Ovella Ochieng and Anthony Wambani.