Zambian league now second home to Kenyans
Mathare United’s Vincent Okello (L) struggles for the ball against Jesse Were of Tusker during their KPL league match at Nyayo National Stadium on Satursday 04/10/14. Tusker won 1-0. [PHOTO.BONIFACE OKENDO]

While the Zambian league has become home to dozen-plus Kenyan footballers, it was David Owino, who was first to make the leap to the hitherto unknown frontier in 2015 after three successful years at Gor Mahia.

Since then several players have made entry into the Zambian league, but very few can count themselves successful.

Owino was quickly followed by Anthony Akumu and Jesse Were and the trio formed a strong Zesco team that reached the semi-finals of the Caf Champions League that lost to eventual champions Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in 2018.

While Akumu has since left for South African giants Kaizer Chiefs, Were remains at the Ndola club and Owino has moved to Napsa Stars where he has joined another Kenyan and former Gor Mahia goal minder Shaban Odhoji.

Akumu was held in high regard in the Zesco midfield. Were wormed his way into the hearts of Zesco with his scoring exploits, which has seen him regarded as one of the best ever strikers, not only for club, but also in the league.

Other players, who have been to Zambia with marked success is another ex-Gor Mahia captain Musa Mohammed who played for Nkana FC and Ian Otieno the former AFC Leopards and Posta Rangers keeper now at Lusaka-based Red Arrows.

Zambian league now second home to Kenyans
Harambee Stars’ Anthony Akumu (left) and Hassan Waswa of Uganda Cranes during a friendly match at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Thursday, March 23, 2017. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Former Gor Mahia defender and captain Haron Shakava also had a stint in Zambia playing for Nkana, but has since returned to Gor Mahia after terminating his contract.

But while Owino, Akumu, Were and Ian Otieno have been outstanding in the Zambian league, there have also been some flops who could not make a mark.

Jacob Keli, Mark Mkwatta and Elvis Rupia did not last in the Southern African nation after failing to make a mark for themselves.

They soon returned to Kenya.

Zambian league now second home to Kenyans
Gor Mahia FC Captain Haron Shakava during a KPL match against Mt Kenya FC at Kasarani Stadium. Jan 16, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

According to Keli, their league was too demanding and there was also a feeling of homesickness.

That notwithstanding, Zambian league seems to remain an open territory for Kenyan players to venture. 

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