Joseph Okumu: Harambee Stars defender closes in on KAA Gent move

Thomas Ulimwengu of Tanzania and Joseph Okumu of Kenya and Harambee Stars.

Kenya international defender Joseph Okumu is closing in on a move to Belgium's top-flight side KAA Gent, Goal can reveal.

Okumu has been allowed by his Swedish club, IF Elfsborg, to travel to Ghent and complete talks with the Belgian side.

The former Chemelil Sugar centre-back has had an impressive season with Elfsborg and attracted reported interest, mainly from Lorient and Reims of France, and from Rangers FC and Celtic of Scotland.

"He is in Ghent for formal talks with the club. Negotiations have been ongoing and if everything is agreed on, he will become Gent's new player soon," a source close to Okumu told Goal.
 
'Crouch', as the former Real Monarchs star is known, joined the Swedish side after participating in the Africa Cup of Nations with the Harambee Stars in 2019.

Although Kenya did not do well in the tournament, the centre-back showed some brilliance especially after being called to fill the void that injuries created in the national team.
 
Since then, he has been an undroppable figure for the Harambee Stars, as he has also established himself as one of the key players at club level.

Recently, Okumu stated he was ready for a new challenge away from Elfsborg.

"Yes, definitely [will take the next step]. The most important thing is that I have already made an impression here," Okumu said.

"When I have done that, both I and the club are satisfied... I think we have the same interests here, so I will take the next step."

After completing his secondary education at Kakamega High, where he featured in national tournaments alongside his Harambee Stars teammate, Eric Ouma, Okumu joined Chemelil Sugar before he secured a move to Free State Stars of South Africa.

From there, the towering defender joined AFC Ann Arbor and Real Monarchs in the United States before Elfsborg - his first European team - signed him two years ago.

Should he join Gent, he would be the third Kenyan to play for the side after Robert Mambo and John Muiruri - Harambee Stars' outstanding midfielders at the beginning of the current century.