Off-the-Pitch

Most expensive Kenyan footballer can fetch 830 million…the lowest, Sh23 million!

Arnold Origi, the only goalkeeper on the list, was once valued at Sh68 millionwhen younger

Ligi Soo: Ayub Timbe rose from Ligi Ndogo and is the third most valuable local footballer. He was on loan to English side Reading from January but two months later, ‘Miss Rona’ happened…

By Idris ‘Shoes’ Lule

Contributing editor/sports

There are less than 40 Kenyan professional soccer players plying their trade outside the country. From Albania to Algeria, England to Egypt, Georgia to Greece, Sweden to Spain. It is one of the highest numbers of pro players if you include the six playing for Zesco United and Nkana Red Devils in the Zambian league.  

Most have changed clubs and so have their fortunes. Their current market value according to the 2020 Transfer Market, which measures soccer players from the time their club movement became public, also changes with age. Arnold Origi, the only goalkeeper to make the list of players worth millions, was once valued at Sh68 million, but at 36 years, his value plummeted to the current Sh25 million.  

Masoud Juma, Eric Ouma and Amos Nondi Obiero are all valued at Sh17 million each and did not make it on the list of the top most valued players. Here are the top 10 most expensive Kenyan footballers…as the soccer season kicks off across the world!

  1. Victor Wanyama
Messing Messi: Victor Wanyama tackles Barcelona’s maestro Lionel Messi. The first Kenyan to play at the UEFA Champions League, Wanyama was once valued at Sh3.8 billion. He was the most expensive player Celtic ever sold when English Premier League side Southampton bought him for Sh1.7 billion in 2013.

Current market value: Sh830 million

Age 29 (?)

Current club: Montreal Impact, Canada

Position: Defensive midfielder

Years active: 2006-2020

Highest market value: Sh3.8 billion

2. Michael Olunga

Engineer: His meteoric rise in pro soccer saw him dropping engineering in campus. He is the top scorer in the Japanese league. Turkish side Besiktas has been window shopping for him.

Current market value: Sh128 million

Age 26

Current club:  Kashiwa Reysol, Japan

Position: Left-footed centre forward

Years active: 2014 -2019

Highest market value: Sh153 million

3. Ayub Timbe

Dual citizen: Ayub Timbe making his debut for English side Reading FC, but has since returned to China. He is both a citizen of Kenya and Belgium.

Current market value: Sh66 million

Age 27

Current club: Beijing Renhe, China

Position: Winger

Years active: 2004 -2020

Highest market value: Sh127 million

4. Abud Omar

Bila club: Omar clears the ball when Harambee Stars beat Tanzania 3-2 during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. Most Kenyans were watching him play for the first time.

Current market value: Sh55 million

Age 27

Current club:  Clubless

Position: Left back

Years active: 2013 -2019

Highest market value: Sh64 million

5. Johanna omolo

No falling falling: His value is rising with age. His Foundation won the FIFA Merit Award for community work in Dandora. He proposed to his fiance, Gladys Mumbi in Paris last year.

Current market value: Sh52 million

Age 31

Current club:  Cercle Brugge, Belgium

Position: Defensive midfielder

Years active: 2007 -2020

Highest market value: Sh83 million

6. Handwalla Bwana

Total Recall: Bwana is the youngest of the most expensive Kenyan footballers. While at Kakuma Refugee Camp, he was known for fashioning soccer balls out of jwala.

Current market value: Sh45 million

Age 23

Current club:  Tacoma Defiance, USA

Position: Left winger  

Years active: 2015 -2020

Highest market value: Sh57 million

7. Patrick Osiako

Saka yeye: Patrick Osiako moved from Tusker FC to being valued at Sh100 million. But his Swedish club sacked him for “not working hard enough,” a decision which was later reversed.

Current market value: Sh45 million

Age 33

Current club:  FC Linkoping, Sweden

Position: Central midfielder  

Years active: 2007 -2020

Highest market value: Sh100 million

8.   Eric Johanna Omondi

Limited edition: Johanna, one of the tallest of Harambee Stars footballers, has moved in between the least number of professional clubs.

Current market value: Sh26 million

Age 26

Current club: Jonkopings, Sweden

Position: Right winger

Years active: 2014 -2020

Highest market value: Sh26 million

9. Lawrence Olum

Coming to America: Olum has played all his pro soccer in the land of Mr Trump. He has only been called to play for Harambee Stars twice in 2012 and 2014.

Current market value: Sh25 million

Age 36

Current club: Minnesota United, USA

Position: Centre back

Years active: 2007 -2020

Highest market value: Sh44 million

10. Eric Origi

Staying power: Origi has both Kenyan and Norwegian citizenship. His moved to English Premier League side Crystal Palace in 2018 did not go through.

Current market value: Sh23 million

Age 36

Current club:  Helsinki IFK, Norway (free transfer)

Position: Goalkeeper  

Years active: 2006 -2020

Highest market value: Sh76 million

Source: Transfermarkt.com

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