Okumu: Kenya defender reveals desire to captain Harambee Stars

Joseph Okumu Michael Olunga and Victor Wanyama of Kenya and Harambee Stars.
Goal Kenya.
The towering stopper has also revealed why he left South Africa top-tier side Free State Stars

Kenya defender Joseph Okumu has revealed he would love to captain the national team sometime in the future.

The 23-year-old centre back has been one of the fast-rising stars in the country and his exceptional display in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) held in Egypt sealed his place in the first 11.

The youngster played in all three matches in Group C; the 2-0 loss to Algeria before helping the team to a 3-2 win against neighbours Tanzania before eventually losing 3-0 to Senegal

"It is a dream for any player to captain his national team," Okumu told Goal when asked whether he will wish to skipper Harambee Stars in future.

"If an opportunity to [captain] the team comes my way, I will take it with both hands. It will be a privilege, but if it does not, my job is to give my country the best services and I will continue pushing myself harder on the pitch."

In 2017, the towering defender was released by South African side Free State Stars after barely one season.

"Free State Stars can confirm the departures of defenders Simphiwe Mtsweni, Kenyan Joseph Okumu and utility forward Thokozane Sekotlong. Good Luck and thank you for your contributions during your stay at Ea Lla Koto," the top-tier side had said in a statement to the public.

"The club is in the process of building a new squad under head coach Sammy Troughton with the target of achieving a memorable campaign without the fear of relegation."

Okumu has revealed why he did not stay long at the club.

"I had four coaches in a season and it was hard for me to settle since every coach had his style," Okumu recalls.

"The last coach felt I was not fit to play in his system, and proposed a loan move for me to the second-tier side. It was not part of my contract with the club so we resorted to the mutual contract termination."

In an initial interview, the former Chemelil Sugar defender shared his feelings of playing in Afcon.

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"It was a surprise for me, I did not expect to be in the first 11 for the tournament," Okumu told Goal.

"We had players like Calabar [David Owino] who is more experienced than me and I expected him to maybe partner Musa [Mohammed], but the coach decided to field me. It was a baptism of fire, but it was a good opportunity for me to show my potential.

"It was a good experience considering I had not taken part in the qualifiers. Remember the last time I had featured for Kenya was in 2016 against Sudan; I did not expect to be involved. It was crazy, but I had to step up."