Sofapaka midfielder Lawrence Juma has explained his journey of playing for the Kenya national team.
The 28-year-old made his debut for the Harambee Stars in September 2019, during the friendly against Uganda which ended in a 1-1 draw at Kasarani Stadium, and since then he has gone ahead to feature in ten matches.
Juma, who last season was featuring for Gor Mahia but left to sign for Batoto ba Mungu when his contract ended at the start of the 2020-21 season, has said competing with foreign-based players for a starting role in the national team has made him feel he is on the right track.
“It’s an honour to be playing for Harambee Stars and that shows I have come of age,” Juma said as quoted by Standard Sports.
“Competing for a starting place with foreign-based players shows that I’m on the right track and it’s also a motivation to other local-based players.
“I never thought that one day I would be playing at this level. As much as you plan and work hard, it’s God who rewards you. I never saw this coming.”
Juma, who has so far scored four goals for new club Sofapaka in the top-flight, has also admitted that it was not an easy journey to reach where he is with the national team.
“It has not been an easy journey, but to play in the Premier League and the national team it needs a lot of sacrifice and discipline,” Juma continued.
“Despite the change of coaches in the national team, I have still been maintained in the team.
“There is nobody who is at that level by chance or favour. You can be talented, but without discipline in football, you can’t succeed. Talent is never enough; it is just a bonus but at the same time you can’t rely on hard work alone.”
Juma’s latest appearance for the national team was the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match against Comoros, which Kenya lost 2-1 in Moroni.
He also featured against Egypt in the Group G qualifier of the match which ended in a 1-1 draw away in Cairo.