Ten Kenyan stars playing in the Zambian Premier League

Sunday, September 29th, 2019 18:22 |
David ‘Calabar’ Owino (Zesco Utd).

The Zambian Premier League has recently become one of the most lucrative in Africa, attracting players from all over the continent. As a result, there has been an exodus of some sort from the Kenyan Premier League with a number of local stars wanting a share of the pie. Here are the top Kenyans in Zambia. 

1. David ‘Calabar’ Owino (Zesco Utd)

The defender was among the first players who began the influx of Kenyans into the Zambian league, joining Ndola-based Zesco United in January 2015 from Gor Mahia.

Calabar, as he is popularly known, went to Zambia with his reputation high after guiding Gor to back-to-back titles and he has maintained those standards to date, playing almost every game as Zesco challenges for the league and CAF Champions League.

Owino, who can play centre-back and righ-back, has won three Zambian Premier League titles with Zesco besides regular appearances in CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup.  

2. Jesse Were (Zesco Utd)

Calabar’s move to Zambia opened the door for many other Kenyans and among the big names to decamp was striker Jesse Were.

A revered goal poacher, Were is the only striker who came to equaling Maurice ‘Sonyi’ Ochieng’s record on 26 goals in KPL when he scored 22 in 2015 before helping Tusker FC to the 2016 league title.

That prolific form saw him join Calabar at Zesco the following season and he has proved a hit, averaging 17 goals every season.

His goals have fired Zesco to two titles (2017 and 2018) and he became the club’s all-time top scorer in January when he netted his 65th goal in a 2-1 victory against Kaizer Chiefs in the CAF Confederation Cup.

3. Anthony Akumu (Zesco Utd) 

Even before the arrival of Were, Calabar had already had a Kenyan colleague at Zesco after former Gor Mahia team-mate Athony ‘Teddy’ Akumu joined him in December 2015 following a brief stint at Sudan’s Al Khartoum.

A key part of Gor Mahia’s renaissance, Akumu’s calm nature in central midfield helped K’Ogalo to three straight titles (2013, 2014 and 2015) and it is what Zesco were looking for when they signed him.

They got just that as he has anchored their midfield for four years, yielding two league titles. 

4. Musa Mohammed (Nkana FC)

Another ex-Gor Mahia player, Musa Mohammed was a mainstay in K’Ogalo’s central defence for seven years and even captained the team at some point, winning five league titles.

He left the team in 2018 for  Albanian second tier side KF Tirana but after just two months, he signed a two-year contract with Zambian Club Nkana FC in July that year where he has played a starring role since.

He was honoured with the Patron’s Award for the most outstanding personality on and off the pitch during the 2018 league season last November, barely six months since joining. 

5. Harun Shakava (Nkana FC)

Following in the footsteps of Calabar and Mohammed, Shakava is another Gor Mahia defender to have traded KPL for the Zambian Premier League.

Shakava, who had assumed the Gor captaincy, will link up with his predecessor Mohammed at Nkana whom he joined in July.

Shakava joined K’Ogalo in 2014 from Kakamega Homeboyz, winning three KPL titles and the Kitwe giants will be hoping he helps them claim the crown they last laid their hands on in 2013.

6. Ian Otieno (Red Arrows)

Musa Mohammed (Nkana FC)

Former AFC Leopards and Posta Rangers goalkeeper Ian Otieno joined Lusaka-based Red Arrows in February 2018 following impressive displays in the Kenyan league.

The 2004 Zambian champions have been assembling a formidable squad in a bid to end Zanaco and Zesco United’s dominance and Otieno is among a number of Kenyan players on their books.

The goalkeeper was mainstay in the team that finished third in the 2019 season and will be hoping for better tidings this campaign.

7. Andrew Tololwa (Red Arrows)

Former Mathare United hit man Tololwa also ditched AFC Leopards to join Red Arrows at the same time with Ian Otieno.

The two were among 12 players signed by Arrows in February 2018. Tololwa made his name at Mathare where he was a revered striker, earning a move to Ingwe which did not go well.

His first campaign in Zambia was not impressive and he will be hoping for improvements this season. 

8. Duncan Otieno (Nkana FC)

Another ex-Leopards player in Zambia, Otieno joined Kitwe-based Nkana in October 2018, penning a two-year deal.

The defender had been Leopards captain before the move but Nkana’s big offer was too good to resist.

He is among three Kenyan defenders at Nkana who have been attempting to win the Zambian league for the first time since 2013. Harun Shakava and Musa Mohammmed are the others. 

9. Victor Majid (Mufulira Wanderers)

Former AFC Leopards midfielder Victor Majid joined Prison Leopards of Zambia in April this year.

The former Bandari and Sony Sugar player signed a short-term contract with Leopards with the hope of helping them avoid relegation but it was not to be as the club dropped to the second tier Division One after finishing last in the 10-team Stream A of the transitional 2019 Zambian Premier League.

Majid then ditched Leopards and signed for Mufulira Wanderers last month. 

Tony Nyangor  (Mufulira Wanderers)

10. Tony Nyangor 

(Mufulira Wanderers)

Popularly known as ‘Balotieno’ due to his hair style that resembles that of maverick Italian striker Mario Balotelli, Nyangor is also on Mufulira Wanderers books.

The midfielder is hugely experienced, having played for Gor Mahia, Nakuru All Stars and most-recently Ushuru FC. 

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