Kenyan from the Diaspora keen to play for Harambee Stars - Daily Nation

Kenyan from the Diaspora keen to play for Harambee Stars

Monday January 12 2009

By ERIC ODANGA

Harambee Stars striking problems could be solved by Taiwo Atieno, a 23-year old Kenyan who plays in Puetorico Islanders.

He was born Taiwo Leo Awuonda Atieno in Brixton, South London in 1985 to a former Nation Newspapers correspondent Moussa Awuonda and English mother Brigit Mary Glaisher.

He came back to Kenya on Sunday to trace some his family in Alego. During his 12-day visit to Kenya, Atieno hopes to meet Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi to push his case.

“It has been my dream to play for Kenya since I was 13 and I know people may question my interest in the team,” Atieno admitted in an exclusive interview with Nation Sports Desk on Monday.

Lethal striker

What he wants is a chance to show his potential and is ready to be called for trials by the Harambee Stars technical bench.

Atieno is aware of Kenya’s lethal striker Dennis Oliech who plies his trade in France for Auxerre.

“I understand he is quick which is good because I am also fast and we could compliment each other,” he added.

There is no doubt in Atieno’s mind that Kenya could qualify for the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa in a tough Pool which also has Nigeria, Tunisia and Mozambique.

He observes that Kenyan players are athletically well built and Harambee Stars could do with a target player comparable to England’s Emile Heskey and Peter Crouch.

Atieno who is strong in the air with a good burst of speed believes these attributes would help Oliech or any other player get into space to bang in the goals.

He is sure his presence in the team could add more interest in Harambee Stars players in the UK, USA and other countries.

For a player who passed a chance to play for the Pueterico national team last year, Atieno would like to be a bridge between Kenya and other countries.

“My long term plan is to establish links between Kenyan teams and others from the UK or USA,” Atieno revealed.

The bottom line is that Atieno is ready to fight for a place in Harambee Stars and leave a mark.

He started playing soccer at eight at Charlton Athletic’s youth team before moving to Walswall Football Club in the Midlands at 14.

He turned professional at 16 with the championship side Walswall FC. In 2006, he moved to Tamworth FC and scored 13 goals in 28 matches.

It was in 2007 that Atieno joined Pueterico Islanders who compete in American League One. They won the league last year with Atieno scoring 13 goals.

Pueterico Islanders have also reached the Concacaf quarter finals which has Mexican champions Santos Laguna.

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