Kakamega Homeboyz defender has been a revelation in the just-ended season
From being overlooked by Vihiga United during trials in 2018 to being nominated for Football Kenya Federation Premier League awards on his debut season in top-flight football, lanky defender Sylvester Owino is excited with the sudden turnaround of his career.
Owino, who has already attracted interest from some top European sides, has been nominated for Young Player of the Year award, where the winner will be feted during a gala awards ceremony on September 11 at Safari Park Hotel.
“It’s a big honour to be among the nominees. It’s a big motivation factor especially given that this was my first season playing in the top-flight league,” Owino, who has earned a call-up to the national Under-23 team, Emerging Stars, told People Sport.
The 20-year-old central defender has had a commendable season where he featured for the Kakamega side in 28 matches, scoring two goals in the process and only missed the other matches due to the fact that he was with Emerging Stars at the Cecafa Championships in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“I started playing football at the age of 10 but, funny enough, I didn’t play for Kisumu Day for four years because I was very tiny by then and again my parents were very much against me playing football while in school. They wanted me to concentrate on books,” Owino, the third born in a family of five, said.
He added: “During school holidays is when I played estate football. In fact while at Okore United which played in the Division Two league, I used to play as either a right or left full back, until I was later deployed in central defence because of my height.”
Owino also represented Division Two league side Bandani FC then played for Betika National Super League side Vihiga Bullets, before joining Homeboyz.
The other players nominated for the award are Sofapaka’s Ambrose Sifuna who has had a successful debut season with the 2009 champions after joining them from second tier side Soy United which has since been relegated to Division One.
Tusker’s revelation Henry Meja is also a key contender in the category after his 10 goals and seven assists helped the Brewers to win the league. Other nominees include Vihiga United’s Lawrence Luvanda, AFC Leopards’ left full back Lewis Bandi and Gor Mahia’s Frank Odhiambo.
The winner of the category will go home with Sh300,000, while the first runner-up will pocket Sh200,000. The second runner-up will earn Sh100,000 during the gala.