Why Kenyan international Juma does not regret leaving Gor Mahia
Lawrence Juma of Sofapaka FC (left) and AFC Leopards Robinson Kamura during a Premier League match at Kasarani Stadium on December 12, 2020. [Courtesy]

Kenyan international Lawrence Juma says he does not regret ditching record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia for Sofapaka.

The 28-year-old midfielder enjoyed a four-year stint at K’Ogalo winning three-back-to-back league titles before ditching them last year after receiving a two-year lucrative deal from Batoto Ba Mungu. He joined Gor Mahia in 2017 from Nzoia Sugar.

And having already scored four goals for Sofapaka in the FKF Premier League including a hat-trick against Mathare United (4-2), Juma said his move was not motivated by money but the desire for a new challenge after the expiry of his contract at Gor Mahia.

“I left Gor Mahia to try a new challenge because I had won three consecutive league titles with the club. So, why should I regret leaving them?’’ Juma said.

“My contract was running out and I even wrote a letter to the management, but they didn’t respond to it. What could I have done if nobody was talking to me and nothing was being put on the table. If they had engaged me, maybe we would be talking about different things.

He continued: “By the way, all my moves have been unexpected and I’m not the kind of person who voices my views to the press each and every time. But as a player when your demands are not met, you have no option but to move.

“Unless you are comfortable and everything else is working out for you, there is nowhere it is written that you will play for one team forever. This is football and you never know what happens next, these are big decisions that people have to make with a lot of consultations. The move happened and life has to go on.”

Why Kenyan international Juma does not regret leaving Gor Mahia
Sofapaka FC’s Lawrence Juma (left) and Mohamed Kilume during FKF Premier League match against Tusker FC at Kasarani on Sunday, Jan 3, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Asked about Sofapaka’s chances of ending their decade-long title drought this season, Juma who was apologetic for his red-card in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Nzoia Sugar said: “I would like to apologise for the red card, it’s just a moment of madness from my end; things happened so fast that day. But it’s not lost yet and I urge my teammates to try and bounce back in the next game (City Stars). The season is not over yet, we need to continue pushing for more points, work hard and be consistent.

“Becoming a champion is a journey and it takes a lot to win the title. But looking at the quality of players we have here and the commitment, I think we can challenge for the title.

“I can’t say everything here is 100 per cent but we are heading there. For the short time I have been here, I have seen a lot of progress and I believe we will be there soon. It’s a process of which with commitment and dedication the mission will be achieved.”

But having made ten appearances for the national team already since debuting in a friendly against Uganda (1-1) in a friendly match at Kasarani Stadium in September 2019 before starring in the famous 1-1 away draw against Egypt in their 2021 Africa Nations Cup Qualifiers Group G tie the following month, the former Timsales and Nakuru AllStars man is grateful to God.

“It’s an honour to be playing for Harambee Stars and that shows I have come of age. Competing for a starting place with foreign-based players shows that I’m on the right track and it’s also a motivation to other local-based players,” he said.

“I never thought that one day I would be playing at this level. As much as you plan and work hard, it’s God who rewards you. I never saw this coming. It has not been an easy journey, but to play in the Premier League and the national team it needs a lot of sacrifice and discipline. Despite the change of coaches in the national team, I have still been maintained in the team.

He concluded: “There is nobody who is at that level by chance or favour. You can be talented, but without discipline in football you can’t succeed. Talent is never enough; it is just a bonus but at the same time you can’t rely on hard work alone.”

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