Kansas City defender Lawrence Olum has for long haboured the dream of representing Kenya at the international level but had to wait until last Sunday when he finally got a chance to don the national colours.
During the match against Comoros at the Nyayo National Stadium the versatile 6 foot 2 defender put up a solid display in defence as the home team posted a hard fought 1-0 win in a preliminary round tie of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
His compact game gave coach Adel Amrouche something to think about the player’s future in the national team.
Commitment to team
Olum, who at one time risked missing the match, demonstrated his commitment to the team by purchasing his own air ticket after local football authorities failed to send him one.
“It is always an honour to represent the country and when I was called up I had to stand up for my country with or without receiving the air tickets,” said the 29-year-old utility defender in Nairobi.
On whether he would heed future call ups, the soft-spoken player with a heavy American accent said: “You never know when you will be called up. I am available whenever the team needs me. This is my country and I will always be proud to represent it,” he said.
Olum’s selfless act is in sharp contrast to that of some of his senior colleagues in the national team.
Former skipper Dennis Oliech, Inter Milan’s MacDonald Mariga and Racing Genk winger Ayub Timbe have all had run ins with the team’s handlers over air ticket refunds in the past.
Meanwhile, a select team of former Inter Milan players are expected in the country tomorrow for a three-day visit. During the tour the team will play a build-up match against Harambee Stars at the Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday starting at 4pm.
Perhaps Olum is drawing inspiration from Africa’s legendary footballer and former Ballon d’Or winner George Weah who used to bankroll the Liberian national team during his playing days.