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Akumu: What can Kaizer Chiefs expect from Kenya star?

17:26 GMT 15/01/2020
Harambee Stars midfielder Anthony Akumu.
Goal examines what the Harambee Stars midfielder will bring to the Amakhosi after sealing a three-year deal

Anthony ‘Teddy’ Akumu, the Rachuonyo-born deep-lying midfielder, has finally signed for Kaizer Chiefs after leaving ZESCO United.

Akumu graced the Kenyan Premier League with champions Gor Mahia, and was part of the team that helped the club bring home the title in 2013 after almost 18 years of waiting.

The towering star was key as K’Ogalo retained the title in 2014 before he left the Kenyan scene to join Sudanese top-flight side Al Khartoum SC, demonstrating that he was ready to test himself at a higher level than the Kenyan game. 

Although Akumu stayed with Al Khartoum for just one season, his next move to join Zesco United in 2016 proved an important decision in his career. Akumu duly established himself as a key figure with the Zambian side for the four seasons he was in Ndola.

ZESCO United, with a great help from the Kenyan star, won league titles in three consecutive seasons (2017, 2018, 2019), and Akumu is primed to win another title with Chiefs. 

Former Mathare United and Harambee Stars captain James Situma, who clashed with Akumu during their respective careers in the Kenyan top flight, has no doubt about whether he will succeed with the Premier Soccer League giants.

“[Akumu] is disciplined, hard-working and those are key traits for a performer which, I have no doubts whatsoever Akumu is, and now he just needs a coach who will help him adapt fast into the team's culture and playing style," Situma told Goal.

“He is a great addition to any team and I have no doubt about that at all.”

While the current Chiefs player, Ghanaian James Kotei, has struggled to adapt to life in Soweto, wholly failing to make his mark with Chiefs, Situma is confident his former Stars teammate will overcome that challenge and succeed where other Kenyans - namely Victor Ali Abondo and Kevin ‘Ade’ Omondi - never made an impression.

Abondo signed for Ajax Cape Town, but could only last a season before he returned to Kenya, and it was the same case with Omondi, who signed a two-year deal with Moroka Swallows but could not see it through.

Situma believes the move down south is a great step for Akumu career-wise. Although the midfielder featured prominently in the Caf competitions with ZESCO United, joining Chiefs will give him far better chances to succeed in the continental scene.

“It is another big opportunity for him, because South African teams also do well in Caf competitions, and he has to grab the chance and make maximum use of it,” Situma continued, and the veteran believes the examples of Brian Mandela and Musa Otieno bode well for Akumu.

"[Musa] Otieno and [Brian] Mandela set the standards which mean Kenyans can also go and conquer that league,” Situma added. “[Akumu] just needs to focus and indeed he will succeed in many ways if he keeps his eyes firmly on the prize.”

 

Akumu has won a swathe of accolades during a successful stint in Zambia and Kenya, and he's a proven winner who only needs regular opportunities to do what he does best; leading clubs to silverware.

In his debut campaign with the Team Ya Ziko, Akumu won the Copa Barclays Cup in 2016 and in the succeeding years he was the league champion. Two league trophies with Gor Mahia (2013 and 2014), the GOtv Shield in 2012, and the numerous accolades in Zambia justify the notion that Amakhosi have snapped up a genuine champion in Akumu.

He has only fallen short on the continental podium to date, but he'll hope that's something he can amend at Chiefs.

At 27, the former Zesco United star still has time on his side to achieve more success in his career.

“His position does not demand a lot of running, and that is an advantage he has,” Situma explained. “Deep midfielders are only required to position themselves correctly when the team is attacking and when they are being attacked.

"[Akumu's] main duty is to recover the ball and pass it forward, and shield defenders," the 35-year-old concluded. "These are duties I know Akumu performs exceptionally.

"[There is also] his aerial prowess, which he can maximise when his teams win free kicks and corners.”

Considering his quality and experience, Chiefs fans can be confident that Akumu will help Ernst Middendorp's side fill the position they have struggled to find a solution for in the last few seasons.