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These are Kenya’s top 10 Under-23 football talent who could guide the national team to the global stage

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Francis Kahata  FK Tirana, Albania, 21 

kahataWhen Francis Kahata scored against Nigeria last year in a World Cup qualifier with a  well curled shot, the player captured the imagination of most local fans.
It is a performance he has managed to maintain in the middle of the Stars pack and at his former club Thika United. At only 21, he has already cemented his place in the Stars midfield bubbling with plenty of talent. Last year, he was responsible for helping Thika United maintain consistent form in KPL.
His latest move to Albania for a professional stint was just a question of time. Before traveling to Albania, Kahata was linked with a Sh5million move to Tanzanian giants Azam, an indication of his immense talent.

Edwin Lavatsa,  MC Algiers (Algeria),  21 

lavastaThe former Gor Mahia striker has just signed a Sh1.2million per month salary with Algerian top side MC Algiers.
This makes him the first Kenyan to play in the Algerian league where it is much easier for him to cross over to Europe. Lavatsa has been a sensation since completing Secondary School two years ago at Upper Hill. He immediately found himself into the starting line-up at Gor Mahia where he scored some crucial goals and helped the club win the 2013 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) title after an 18 year wait.
He won last year’s Senior Challenge Cup with Harambee Stars after finishing runners-up the previous year in Uganda.

Shaban Kenga, Gor Mahia,  22 

Shaban KengaWhen Bandari were promoted to the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) at the beginning of last season, many expected that the team would struggle just as it happens with newly promoted sides.
However, the team shocked both friend and foe with a good performance that saw them finish in sixth spot on the standings.
This impressive performance could not have come without the impact of a player like Shaban Kenga.
Highly skilled and perfect on the ball, Kenga held together Bandari’s midfield and at the end of the season he was named runners-up player of the year. It is a performance that saw Gor fight to get his signature at the end of last season.

Enock Agwanda, Sofapaka, 21
Enock AgwandaA natural goal scorer, Agwanda is hugely talented and despite 2012 being his first season in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL), Sofapaka were still willing to pay Sh300,000 for him to decamp from Sony Sugar.
He is also very good at throw balls and is excellent at set-pieces. In 2012,  he was called up to the national Under-23 side for a match against Botswana and ended the match on an impressive note after setting up all the three goals in a 3-1 win for Kenya.
Agwanda was also a great influence in Sofapaka who finished third in last year’s KPL. His full potential could however come out this coming season.

 

Sammy Mejja, Thika United,  20
CaptureDespite being his maiden season in the topflight football, Sammy Meja put in magnificent performances at Thika United.
The former Kakamega High School left-back has since then established himself in coach John Kamau’s team and was a key factor in Thika’s dominance in the first leg of the 2013 season. Mejja’s impressive performance saw him clinch the 2013 KPL young player of the year award and consequently earned his first senior national team call up for the 2013 Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup, only to be dropped at the last minute by Coach Adel Amrouche.
However, the defender got a call up for the Cosafa U20 tournament where he helped the Kenya Junior national team reach the final. He remains one of the hottest prospects in the Kenyan Premier League.

Patilla Omotto, Bandari,  19
omotto  patillaA naturally talented midfielder, Omotto made his debut into the KPL last season when AFC Leopards paid a whooping Sh400,000 to get him on loan from division one side Kariobangi Sharks. Despite his age, he managed to start a number of matches and was always impressive in midfield.
He is one of the few local midfielders who can string both long and shot passes on target. His other strength is being to carry the ball to for long distances on the pitch, which is a rare quality as most midfielders receive the ball and pass quickly.
The player moved to Bandari for more playing time.

Edward Seda, AFC Leopards,  22
sedaaaSeda is a master of perfect passes and has the ability to offer great support to the strikers playing ahead of him.
He plays his role as an attacking midfielder very well and together with Patilla Omoto were quite impressive for Leopards last season.
Current AFC Leopards coach James Nandwa has revealed that he wants to use the player more next season.
“I have been with him for more than one month now and have seen his immense talent. He has this ability to change a game in an instant and for this reason, we will use him more in our campaign,” said Nandwa.

Michael Olunga, Tusker, 20

Tusker-Michael-Olunga-300Two years ago, Olunga was still a student at Upper Hill High School where he was undertaking his studies while part of the UNICEF football for excellence programme.
He helped Upper Hill to winning two national secondary school titles and was no surprise when he was signed by former KPL champions Tusker.
Among his strengths include being an exceptional dribbler, very intelligent with the ball and tactically disciplined making it impossible to lose the ball once in possession.
His huge body also gives him an advantage over his markers and can easily push through the biggest defensive walls.  He has a positive attitude and always willing to learn but needs more playing timet.

Meshack Karani, Mathare United,  23
Mathare Meshack KaraniMeshack Karani had a brilliant debut last year in the Kenyan Premier League after signing for Mathare United from Kariobangi Sharks.
The lanky striker scored two goals in the first leg of the season, before an injury slowed him down prompting coach Stanley Okumbi to sign Kenneth Wendo from Tusker.
Karani’s key attributes include his physical strength, air prowess and power to retain possession of the ball. The former St. Antony Kitale student has a lot of promise and will play a vital role in Mathare’s 2014 campaign.

Collins Shivachi, Sofapaka,  22
collins ShivachiThis is Shivachi’s third season in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) and Sofapaka assistant coach David Ouma believes the player has fully matured and ready to fight for more playing time in the team.
“He has had enough time to grow in his game and I can say he has been a good student. He has reached that level where he can easily fight for a starting role,” said Ouma.
Shivachi is very good on passing and ball control as well as an uncanny ability to read a game and adapt as required.

-The Standard

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