How Kenya’s Abuya is living his dream at Zambian giants Nkana and joy playing alongside former AFC Leopards captain.
Kenyan international Duke Abuya says he is living his dream at Zambian Super League giants Nkana Red Devils.
From Eldoret-based GFE 104 to Mathare United and then Kariobangi Sharks where his successes on the pitch saw him start a taxi business as he earned a national team Harambee Stars call up, Abuya’s career has without doubt been on a steady rise.
Though the 24-year-old attacking midfielder inspired Sharks to three trophies (2018 FKF Shield, 2019 SportPesa Super Cup, 2019 SportPesa Cup), it is his goal against English Premier League side Everton at Kasarani Stadium that made him dominate the headlines.
But since joining the 12-time Zambian champions on a two-year deal in January this year, Abuya has become a regular feature in the team forming an effective partnership with former AFC Leopards captain Duncan ‘Danco’ Otieno in the middle of the park.
Despite playing in unfamiliar midfield role, Abuya has already scored a goal in his seven appearances for the fourth-placed Nkana which is also home to Kenyan duo of Musa Mohammed and Harun Shakava.
And even as he plans to cement his place in the national team after making his debut in last year’s barren draw first leg tie of the African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier away to Tanzania, the midfielder is so far proud of his progress.
“I always dreamt of playing outside Kenya, but I never knew it would be at a big club like Nkana. The move happened so fast and the positive thing is that I adapted to everything there very quickly. I just feel like I’m living my dream everyday but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be complacent here,” Abuya told Standard Sports.
“I wasn’t a taxi driver as perceived by many, but I owned a few taxi cars So, I used to do drive around sometimes after training at Sharks. I started off with just two cars, but I’m glad the business is now booming.”
He added: “The national team is not like a club, this is a place that you must take your chances whenever given because the competition is too high. But if you don’t grab it with both hands, you will live to regret. Migne (Sebastian) told me he was impressed with my debut performance against Tanzania and immediately he left Kimanzi (Francis) called me up in the team. That means I’m heading in the right direction.”
Abuya further revealed why he is enjoying playing alongside Otieno and how his fellow countrymen helped him to adapt quickly to life in Kitwe.
“Honestly, was it not for Musa, Duncan and Shakava it would have been difficult for me to adapt at Nkana. They gave me a warm welcome and oriented me to the club. They taught me the ropes of what it takes to be a professional player. But I’m more grateful to Duncan for making things easier for me. I have really had fun in the seven matches we have played together in midfield,” he said.
Asked about his new midfield role and how he felt after ending his goal drought in a foreign country, Abuya said: “I’m really enjoying my new role in the team. The transition from number ten attacking role to a provider has not been difficult for me. That’s an added advantage to me because I can do both of them.
“I was more than relieved to open my goal account at Nkana because I had endured a long goal drought in the Kenyan Premier League.”
Apart from becoming popular with the fans, that goal enabled me to settle in the team.”
Abuya went on to explain how grateful he was to Kariobangi Sharks for giving him a platform to develop his talent and exposing him.
“I’m grateful to Kariobangi Sharks for giving me a platform to develop and expose my talent. Without them I wouldn’t have managed to reach where I’m right now,” he said.
“I joined Sharks as a backup player from Mathare United, but I think coach (William Muluya) saw my potential and he made me a regular player. I never let him down; I repaid him with my performance on the pitch.”