- Harper was born in Kenya but moved to UK at an early age
- He plays for Ligue One side Exeter City
- Kenya plays Russia in an international friendly match in Turkey
Harambee Stars head coach Engin Firat has handed yet another debut call up to a player with Kenyan roots, as he named his 23-man squad for a friendly match against Russia in Antalya, Turkey, on October 16.
The tactician has handed a call to England League One side Exeter City left back Vincent Harper in the squad, but the 23-year old is relatively unknown in the Kenyan football circles.
But who is Harper, who was born in Kenya but moved to the United Kingdom at a young age?
Harper started his football career with Bristol City and progressed through their youth ranks. Impressing at under-16 level, he was promoted to the under-18s, where he scored two goals on debut.
He signed his first professional contract in May 2019, but following three loan spells, he was released at the end of the 2020–21 season.
Loan spells in between
His loan spells included stints with National League North side, Gloucester City where he made 15 appearances, before returning to Bristol in December. He was then loaned out again to Southern Football League side, Weston-super-Mare on a one-month loan deal.
Following the conclusion of the loan deal, Harper joined Bath City on a loan deal until the end of the season. He was recalled 21 February 2020, after only playing two games.
On 20 August 2021, Harper joined National League North side, Chippenham Town, following a successful trial during pre-season. He would make his league debut for Chippenham in a 1–0 victory to Slough Town. Having only been at Chippenham for a month, Harper was subject to a seven-day approach from National League side Eastleigh.
He joined them on a permanent deal.
The struggling Eastleigh side would finish 19th in the standings, two places away from relegation, with Harper featuring in 36 games.
On 21 June 2023, Harper joined League One side, Exeter City on a two-year deal with an option for an additional third year.
In March this year, he played for ‘England C’ in a friendly match against ‘Wales C’. England C is a non-league team and thus holds no FIFA allegiance.
Fight for a starting place with Marcelo
He is expected to battle for a starting place in Firat’s squad, with regular left back Eric Marcelo Ouma. He comes into the squad in place of Aboud Omar who has been dropped for the Russia friendly having consistently featured in the squad.
Also dropped from the squad is another English-based player, Clarke Oduor, who infamously was substituted as a substitute in the friendly match against South Sudan last month.
Meanwhile, the tactician has handed a debut call to Gor Mahia’s right back Rooney Onyango who has been impressive for the league champions since he joined at the start of the year.
Also earning a recall to the team is Tusker FC’s duo of Daniel Sakari and goalkeeper Brian Bwire.
The tactician has also recalled winger Ovella Ochieng who returns to the team for the first time since 2020, as well as AFC Leopards’ Clifton Miheso.
The team will have its training camp in Turkey, where the friendly match will be played, and travel on Monday.
Harambee Stars squad for Russia friendly
Patrick Matasi, Brian Bwire, Bryne Odhiambo
Joseph Stanley Okumu, Brian Mandela, Johnstone Omurwa, Collins Sichenje, Erick Ouma, Rooney Onyango, Daniel Sakari, Vincent Harper, Amos Nondi
Richard Odada, Anthony Akumu, Kenneth Muguna, Alpha Onyango, Ayub Timbe, Ovella Ochieng
Masoud Juma, Alfred Scriven, Cliffton Miheso, Moses Shummah, Michael Olunga