Kenyan Victor Wanyama primed for 'official' UEFA Champions League bow

Should Wanyama play for Celtic against Benfica on Wednesday, he becomes the third Kenyan after his brother Mariga and Oliech to play in the elite league

Match Day Two of the 2012/2013 UEFA Champions League season will provide some eye catching fixtures to the millions of football lovers across the globe.

In particular, defending champions Chelsea duel with Italian Champions Juventus could be the neutral's choice for match of the day, whilst encounters featuring previous winners and crowd pullers Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Barcelona are sure to be as eye catching as the rest.

However, amidst all the hype and discussion involving the aforementioned, one fixture pitting Scottish Champions Celtic against Portuguese giants Benfica was certain to receive fair share of interest not only in the specific nations homeland but amongst Kenyan and East African fanatics in general.

This interest could chiefly be summarized in two words. Victor Wanyama. Those are the names of a Kenyan international midfielder currently plying his trade at Glasgow Celtic.

A virtual unknown two years ago, Wanyama stock has steadfastly risen since his move to Celtic Park making him at least on evidence of the recent transfer window, one of the most sought after players in Europe.

The defensive midfielder, who can equally fit in central defence, is certain to make the first eleven for this match. If that is the case, he will make history, becoming the only third Kenyan, after his elder brother Macdonald Mariga and national team Harambee Stars skipper Dennis Oliech to feature in the group stages of the World's Premier club competition.

However, by all indications, this seems a milestone that the former Belgium based player is eager and ready to embrace.

“I have featured in the Europa League (last season) and the group stages of this competition. So this will not be an entirely new experience. The most important thing for me and my teammates is to get the campaign off to a good start and secure a second round berth.”

Michelle Katami, a Kenyan journalist who has covered Wanyama severally on national team duty, says the world should be ready as Kenya unveils its latest star onto the world scene.

“Victor is one of the few players in Kenya who has gone through the vital youth sports education, his talent has been nurtured from the youth level which is a key factor to a performing footballer. I believe he will be up for the task in this competition that consists of the worlds’ finest.”

This script will not be complete without a word from Victor's mentor and elder brother Macdonald Mariga, a Champions League winner himself.

“The Champions League tournament is very competitive because every time you play against a team that probably won their domestic competition. The intensity (during matches) is high, with a very minimal margin of error" I have already told him (Victor) to be prepared and I believe he has the ingredients required to make the cut.”

All said and done, Kenya, a relative minnow on the African football map and other parts of the continent will be glued to their screens to witness the emergence of the latest talent display his talent on the biggest platform yet.

From all indications, it seems this story will have a happy ending if not for the club, then the player himself.