Former Kenyan star Ouma settling as mechanic in Germany
Ouma topped the KPL scoring charts in the 2008 season with 15 strikes for Mathare United
Former Kenyan Premier League (KPL) goal-poacher Francis Ouma was at the height of his career in 2008 and a little over three years later – at the age of 23 – his professional football career was over.
The 32-year-old Ouma, now working as a mechanic in Germany, topped the KPL scoring charts in the 2008 season with 15 strikes for Mathare United as they claimed the league title.
A move the next year to Tanzania’s Azam FC followed, before setting sail for Italy to join Serie A giants Parma. There he met former Kenyan international McDonald Mariga.
Ouma, however, never featured in a competitive match for Parma and was swiftly loaned out to Portuguese outfit GD Tourizense.
Ouma was quoted on Kenyan publication Daily Nation as saying: “Mariga welcomed me very warmly in Italy and helped settle down. I was happy to make such a big move. However, it was very difficult to break into the senior team as they had very established forwards and I had to be loaned out.”
More disruption would plague his career with stints at a number of clubs in Europe before arriving at his final club abroad FC Grenchen in Switzerland in 2011.
“FC Grenchen really frustrated me and I started questioning my inner self. They eventually terminated my contract and I tried pursuing the case with Fifa unsuccessfully. I decided to stop playing football competitively and pursue other interests. I moved to Germany where I now work as a mechanic and I am happy.
“My elder brother is an experienced mechanic and he taught me the job after I was done with school. He has a garage in Makadara, Nairobi and that is where I normally spent my days as a young boy after school.
“I would work at the garage during the day and train with lower-tier side Hakati Sportif at the Hamza grounds and that is how my journey in football started. Even when I was playing in the KPL I would still work on the side as a mechanic and I think it is very important for players to have a fallback plan since football in Kenya isn’t a career you can fully depend on at the moment.”
Though he says he is content as a mechanic, it’s obvious he would have preferred a successful career as a professional footballer.
“Growing up I used to envy Dennis Oliech and it was an absolute pleasure to play alongside him and other great players in the national team. It was a dream come true for me.”
In partnership with ANA and Sports Leo