Football lovers all across Africa are patiently waiting for the African Cup of Nation (AFCON) with several teams already preparing for the most awaited tournament in different places across the world.
Some teams like Egypt and Tanzania are holding have their training camps in Cairo, getting used to the environment before the tornament.
Kenya is among the teams training outside the continent. Harambee Stars are in Paris, France enjoying the modern facilities as they prepare for first, a friendly match with the Democratic Republic of Congo before heading to Egypt.
The 23-man squad has been announced with very tactical players left to carry an entire Nation’s hopes heading into the Continental showpiece.
Among the players carrying Kenya’s hopes is Defender Joseph Okumu.
Who is Joseph Okumu?
Joseph Stanley Okumu is a Kenyan professional footballer who currently ply’s his trade for United Soccer League (USL) side Real Monarchs as a defender.
Okumu was born on 26th May 1997 in Kisumu and is an alumnus of Kakamega High School where he played for the school team and was nicknamed ‘Crouch’ after footballer Peter Crouch because of his height. He is 1.93m tall.
He played locally for Chemelil Sugar Academy for the U21 and U23 and made his international debut for the senior team in 2016.
During the 2016-17 season, he joined South African PL side Free State Stars. According to Okumu, it is at the South African League that he improved a lot at.
He states that the only difference between South Africa and Kenya is the structure of football with the former highly known for nurturing young players and providing them with proper skills before sending then out to roll with the big clubs.
On 16 August 2018, Okumu left Free State Stars for Real Monarchs where he has managed to establish himself as a regular starter.
During a one on one interview in Paris, the 22-year-old named his father as the source of his motivation. He says that his father, who was also a central defender has been instrumental in his career. His father is always out to correct him whenever he makes any mistake on the field.
Regarding the players he admire’s most on the planet, Okumu mentioned Thiago Silva and Kalidou Koulibaly as the players he admires most.
Thiago silva is a Brazilian professional footballer who also has a French nationality. The center-back and former captain of the Brazil national team play’s for Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint Germain.
Kalidou Koulibaly, on the other side, is a Senegalese professional footballer who plays for Italian side Napoli as a defender. Koulibaly is one of the most-rated defenders in the world, currently rocking Europe and has been a target for many big clubs like Manchester United this summer.
Well, just so you don’t forget, Kenya will face Senegal in the AFCON group Stages meaning that Okumu may get a chance to face Kalidou Koulibaly.
Locally, Okumu looks up to David Owino aka Calabar and Brian Mandela, both of whom are defenders.
Okumu will be one of the defenders who will be leading Harambee Stars in gracing the AFCON tournament which is slated for 21st June to 19 July.
BELOW IS OKUMU’S INTERVIEW IN PARIS (WATCH)