A sensational Kenyan player has redefined the sports industry for his ultimate show of skill and prowess.
The 24-year-old Joseph Okumu has become synonymous with talented Kenyan players who have played in major leagues across America and Europe.
The young lad went from playing for Kenyan under 21 team to currently being valued at Ksh439 million - a notable stamp left by the footballer.
Despite the fact that the spotlight shines on the likes of Michael Olunga, Victor Wanyama and McDonald Mariga for their success overseas, Okumu's name is slowly turning heads as he readies to enter his prime years.Joseph Okumu (left) dribbling past a player during a past match.theathletic.com
The footballer's gateway to stardom came in 2016 when he made his national debut for Harambee Stars. Becoming a regular at the national side, he rose to the occasion in the African Cup of Nation squad in 2019.
Okumu played in all three matches in Group C, the 2-0 loss to Algeria before helping the team to a 3-2 win against neighbours Tanzania and eventually losing 3-0 to Senegal.
At the time, the Kakamega High School alumni also played for Chemelil Sugar FC. He remained at the club for only six months before joining Free State Stars FC in 2018, a South African football club based in Bethlehem.
At the SA based club, he made eight club appearances, before signing for United States League Championship side Real Monarchs. A year later, he transferred to Swedish Allsvenskan side, IF Elfsborg. After two years, he sealed his mark in the team for his outstanding role in helping the team finish second in the league in order to qualify for the Europa League.
This led to Okumu being presented as the Breakthrough footballer of the year in 2020.
"It is an honour; [Saturday] at the IF Elfsborg Gala I was recognized and awarded the Breakthrough Player for the 2020 season. An amazing season it has been," the 24-year-old reacted after he was feted at the time.
During the 2021 transfer season, Okumu was approached by Belgian giants who offered a lumpsum of Ksh439 million in order to acquire his services.
This is after he had attracted interests from several clubs across Europe, Scottish giants Celtic, Rangers, Lorient and Reims of France who were also keen on roping him as well.
The transfer fee made him one of the most expensive Kenyan players, behind the likes of Major League Soccer club CF Montréal Victor Wanyama and Al-Duhail's Michael Olunga.Retired Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama in action at the 2019 African Cup of Nations.Goal.com
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