Ayub Timbe: Kenya's forward in Japan to seal Vissel Kobe transfer

Vissel Kobe
African All Stars
J1 League
The forward has been without a club since leaving Chinese Beijing Renhe in October 2020
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Harambee Stars forward Ayub Timbe is in Japan to complete Vissel Kobe move, Goal can reveal.

The Kenya international has been without a club since October 2020 after he ended his association with Beijing Renhe of China.

His expected move will see him remain in the Far East and joins his compatriot in J1 League, Ismail Dunga, who joined Sagan Tosu recently.

"Timbe is in Japan to complete his move to Vissel Kobe," a source close to the player told Goal on Friday. "It is a done deal."

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At Vissel Kobe, a club that has won various honours including being in the top-tier for 16, 11 seasons in the second tier, two seasons in the third and eight seasons in the Regional Leagues, the Kenyan will rub shoulders with known stars including former Arsenal and Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen.

Timbe would be the second high-profile Harambee Star to join a Japanese club after Michael Olunga.

Olunga joined Kashiwa Reysol, helped them win promotion back to the J1 League where he finished as the top scorer 2020 and also won the Most Valuable Player of the competition; the first African to do so in the Japanese top-tier.

Olunga has since left for Al-Duhail of Qatar after making his name in Kashiwa.

Timbe, who has served quite a number of clubs across continents, is set to face huge expectations at Vissel Kobe especially given how his international teammate Olunga performed.

At Beijing Renhe, a club he joined in February 2017, he scored eight goals in the maiden season with them and helped the club earn promotion to the Chinese Super League.

In the subsequent season, he was loaned to Heilongjiang Lava Spring, a second-their club, even after he had scored seven goals in 14 games in the top-flight for Beijing Renhe.

He was to complete a deadline day loan transfer move to English Championship club Reading on January 30, 2020.

Reading did not extend his loan move beyond the six months that was initially agreed on and Timbe moved back to Beijing Renhe.

In Europe, Timbe was also at Genk but was loaned out to Lierse between 2014 and 2016 where he went ahead to make 42 appearances and scored eight goals for the Belgian side.

The performance saw Lierse make his move permanent and the player stayed with them for one year between 2016 and 2017.

From Belgium, the Harambee Star joined Renhe where he enjoyed a good outing in 2017 as he scored 17 goals in 49 matches.

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The winger was involved in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Comoros in 2020 where Kenya ended up dropping points that would have taken them close to securing a back-to-back qualification slot.

In the first match, Comoros held Kenya to a 1-1 draw in Nairobi before they went on to pick up a 2-1 win in Moroni. Timbe came under severe criticism for how he performed against the Islanders especially in the second match.

It remains to be seen whether Kenya head coach Jacob 'Ghost' Mulee - who has already selected local players to prepare for the qualifiers - would consider him for the final ties against Egypt and Togo.