Gor Mahia utility Philemon ‘Mbish’ Otieno is expected to return in January from a long injury lay-off.
Otieno, who picked an anterior cruciate ligament injury while playing for Harambee Stars in a Africa Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier against Tanzania in August, had already begun training with the team before the ongoing strike started. He now trains alone and attends gym sessions with his physiotherapist.
The Kenyan international told Nation Sport that he is eager to return to the pitch since his rehabilitation is almost done.
“I'm on the recovery path and it is almost done. I will be ready to play for Gor Mahia in January since I had been training with the team before the strike but now I'm continuing on my own. It has been a long time and I'm yearning to be back to play football,” said Otieno.
The K’Ogalo right back, who can also play in midfield, says he holds no grudge against Gor Mahia or Football Kenya Federation concerning the tirade that surrounded his treatment which forced him to turn back to his family and friends to raise money for his knee surgery.
“It was a tough time but I don’t want to talk about it because I'm focused on reviving my career. Issues will always arise in football but that doesn’t mean I lose hope and abandon my talent. I have a passion for the game and my focus is to help Gor Mahia bag the Kenya Premier League title,” he said.
On the unending crisis at Gor Mahia concerning salary arrears, Otieno urged the players and the club hierarchy to reach a consensus so that everyone in the club can pull in one direction.
“I can’t say much on what has been transpiring in the team because I have not been on the pitch. However, we need to move forward as a team and I believe the situation will change and all issues will be sorted out,” he added.
Gor Mahia players are still on strike with the champions set to play Kisumu All Stars on December 22.