Coronavirus: Ex-Harambee Stars captain Otieno reveals battle against stigmatisation

Harambee Stars assistant coach Musa Otieno
Goal Kenya.
The former Ingwe defender was admitted to hospital but has been discharged and undergone the mandatory self-isolation period

Former Harambee Stars captain Musa Otieno has revealed how he has had to battle stigmatisation since he contracted the coronavirus.

Kenya’s long-serving captain was admitted to Mbagathi Hospital, which has been designated as a coronavirus isolation centre in Kenya, on June 26 and was discharged on July 5.

The former Tusker defender has now revealed how the situation subjected him to stigmatisation in his neighbourhood.

“This is not something that anybody would like to contract by socialising with you. Sometimes when I get out of the house or walk in the neighbourhood, I see people pointing at me,” Otieno told The Standard.

“I thank God for everything. At the moment, I’m feeling much better compared to the first few days when I was admitted at Mbagathi Hospital.

“I can now walk around and I don’t have those Covid-19 symptoms anymore; chest pains, coughing, fever and sore throat.”

Otieno stated he contracted the disease while serving the Maringo community through his foundation, Kick-Off to Hope

“It’s just unfortunate that I got it while on duty distributing foodstuff to the vulnerable groups. I wasn’t feeling well and I went to Mbagathi Hospital for a test,” continued the former AFC Leopards star.

“My biggest problem was that I was struggling to breathe. There was no fitness anymore, and I just wanted to get better and leave the hospital.

“Once I was discharged I felt like I had already overcome the battle. Yes, I was going back to my house under restrictions with no visits, but it came with some freedom; I could do anything I want in my house. 

“The first three days were a bit difficult for me because I wasn’t used to staying in the house but after the fourth day, I started adapting to the new lifestyle.”

Otieno, who served the national team from 1993 to 2009 and guided the country back to the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in 2004 after a 12-year wait, also spoke about his return to football activities after retirement and services to the community through his organisation.

“One thing that brought me back after my retirement was to analyse Kenyan Premier League matches on DSTV's SuperSport as well as working with my organisation.

“I then had some coaching experience with FC Talanta [a National Super League side] before deciding to focus on my organisation as I tried to give hope to the community through mentorship programmes and a football academy.

“It has not been easy to raise an annual budget of KSh1 million but we are trying our best to bring hope to over 150 children we are working with.” 

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Otieno also played for Santos FC of South Africa where he equally made his name by winning the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title in the 2001/02 season.