Arguably, there have not been many Kenyan players that have managed to breakthrough into playing for elite football clubs around the world. Captain of the Harambee Stars Victor Wanyama is the most recent top player to emerge, having played for English Premier League team Tottenham Hotspurs, before moving to the MLS.
Prior to that, he played for Southampton and Celtic, after a short spell in Sweden with Helsingborg U21s. Whilst he didn’t make his full debut in Sweden, many of his international team mates have decided to follow his pathway and have since moved to Swedish teams.
It now looks like more players are finding a route into European football by playing in the Scandinavian country, with four of the national team currently applying their trade there, as well as an up-and-coming player that could soon feature for the Harambee Stars.
They will all be looking to help Kenya qualify for the African Cup of Nations, with some qualifiers coming up soon. Kenya are not amongst the favorites to win the AFCON, according to international football betting odds but, if some of the younger players develop strongly over the next six months, this could significantly improve their chances.
Ouma plays for AIK after spending a season at Vasalunds IF. Prior to playing in Sweden, he had stints in Georgia and Albania. He impressed for Vasalunds IF, making 22 appearances in 2018-2019 in the third tier of Swedish football and caught the eye of top tier team AIK, who signed him for the 2020 season.
Eric Johanna Omondi
Omondi is at his third Swedish team, starting off at Vasalunds IF like his international teammate Ouma. After one season, he moved to Brommapojkarna, where he scored 7 goals in 49 games before moving up a league to the second tier with Jonkoping.
The young striker is trying to make a name for himself in Sweden with Vasalunds IF, where he has been since 2018. So far, he has made 9 appearances for the Swedish club and may have to bide his time and wait for his chance.
Anthony Wambani is also a Vasalunds IF player, who moved to Sweden from the Kenya Premier League in 2018. Another young player at the very beginning of his career, hoping that he can follow in Wanyama’s boots and become a household name across Europe when his chance comes along.
The defender is currently contracted to IF Elfsborg, where he joined for the 2019 season. He hasn’t had too many chances to show his talents yet, but there is plenty of time for him to shine in the Swedish top division.
Victor Wanyama was not the first Kenyan to play in Sweden, as Robert Mambo Mumba made the move back in 2004, when he signed for Orebro SK. Now, many other Kenyan players have seen that this is a good route into Europe and the opportunity to progress at the highest level of football.
Could some of the younger stars listed above become the next Victor Wanyama and make it through to the highest level? It would be great to see one of them play in one of the elite European leagues one day, flying the flag for the whole of Kenya.