An outstanding Kenyan player is redefining soccer in the country with his ultimate show of skill and prowess.
25-year-old Eric Ouma Otieno dubbed Marcelo has become synonymous with talented Kenyan footballers who have played in major leagues across America and Europe.
The young lad went from playing in Kibera slums to currently being valued at Ksh127 million - a notable stamp left by the 25-year-old.
Ouma is slowly turning heads as he readies to enter his prime years, with his name already popping up amongst elite players such as Michael Olunga, Victor Wanyama and McDonald Mariga.Kenyan international Erick Ouma Otieno on September 21, 2021 scored his first goal for Swedish club, AIK.AIK Futbol
The player's story dates back to 1996 in Kibera slums where Ouma spent 19 years of his life. The young player would play barefoot on hard surfaces- not minding the rocky ground as football was his passion.
His nickname Marcelo sprung from his idol, Brazilian defender Marcelo. Though his parents could not afford funds for his education, Ouma did not lose hope. His situation changed through football scout and coach, Benjamin Kipruto, who helped him to secure a four-year scholarship at Kakamega High School.
"Just like most footballers, I had a lot of challenges growing up. I stayed in Kibera for over 19 years and the hustle was real. But I had to defy all odds to become what I wanted to be in life. We lacked a lot of basic materials and good facilities, but we had to use what we had in order to achieve our dreams."
"My parents did everything, but due to their financial state they couldn't buy me everything I wanted. We didn’t have boots, uniforms and cones. I played barefoot for nearly three years before I got some completely shredded boots. But that didn’t stop us from playing. We were driven by passion for football and even used stones as ‘cones’ he stated.
While playing for Kakamega High, he showed off his skill and talent to soccer fans and administrators who got impressed and encouraged him to keep soaring. Deemed as the next breakout player, Ouma got a chance to play for Kenya's giants Gor Mahia in 2015.
He also joined the national team, Harambee Stars where he impressed the football world in the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt. With football scouts from all over the world watching the matches, Ouma got a chance to play for Kolkheti Poti in Georgia in January 2017.
In February 2018, he moved to Albanian club KS Kastrioti and by September that year he was playing for Swedish club Vasalund.
After making 22 appearances and scoring 2 goals, he moved to AIK on a Ksh127 million valuation. The young lad has also been a top prospect for top English clubs such as Leicester City, Brighton and Hove Albion.Harambee Stars players celebrate during their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Ethiopia at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on October 14, 2018.Daily Nation
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