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Kenyan defender Frank Odhiambo keen to succeed in Sweden

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Frank Odhiambo in Djugardens training
  • Odhiambo moved to Sweden from Gor Mahia
  • He signed for top tier side Djugardens
  • He is currently on loan in the third tier

When Kenyan defender Frank Odhiambo signed with the 2019 Swedish champions Djurgardens IF in January 2022, following the footsteps of his compatriots who have achieved remarkable success in Stockholm is all what he wanted.

For starters, Kenyan footballers have done incredibly well in Sweden, prompting clubs to shop for upcoming and promising players from Nairobi.

Djurgardens, is a club that resonates extremely well with Kenyans bearing in mind that it is the outfit that laid the foundation for national team captain Michael Olunga to become the player he is today.

Olunga left record Kenyan champions Gor Mahia in February 2016 for Djurgardens and he has never looked back.

The forward, currently attached to Qatari giants Al Duhail, is considered a rich source of motivation and a role model to many upcoming players.

Odhiambo looks to follow in Wanyama’s footsteps


Frank Odhiambo during his Gor Mahia days

Former Kenyan national team captain Victor Wanyama, who remains the sole player to have graced the English Premier League, launched his professional career in Sweden.

Left back Erick Ouma, central defender Joseph Okumu, who plays for French side Reims, are just but examples of other Kenyan players who took the Swedish top tier by storm before being scouted by other European clubs.

Just like Olunga, Odhiambo was plucked from Gor Mahia after demonstrating top of the drawer defensive prowess in less one and half seasons with the Kenyan club.

Unlike Olunga who hit the ground running at Djurgardens, Odhiambo finds himself sailing in uncharted waters as he is yet to make his debut at the competitive level for the club more than two years after putting pen to paper.

The defender has had to contend with two loan deals before to lower tier sides; Vasalund IF and Haninge IF. Currently, he is on his third deal to third-tier side AFC Eskilstuna.

He joined Eskilstuna on a season-long deal from Djurgardens in March this year, a move that is aimed at readying him for the highest level.

While the long wait for a top tier debut could be frustrating, Odhiambo is not about to give up or succumb to any form of pressure.

Odhiambo confident of conquering Sweden


Frank Odhiambo in Djugardens training

One thing that remains clear for the 21-year-old is his mission to conquer Swedish soil and scale to the next phase of his career will be accomplished no matter how huge the hurdles are.

“I am working extremely hard to be fully ready for league matches with Djurgardens next season. It is a shame that it has taken me long and I have had to be loaned out but I haven’t given up. In fact, I am motivated to work harder and succeed just the way Olunga and the other Kenyans have in Sweden. I don’t believe that I will be loaned out again,” Odhiambo told Kenyan Football Site

The former Kenyan U20 team defender appreciates that the three loan moves have and continue to serve the sole reason-shaping him for top tier football with Djurgardens.

Odhiambo, who at one point enrolled for Swedish classes, further acknowledges that the playing time that came his way through the loan moves have moved him closer to game time at Djurgardens.

Loan moves important for his progression


Frank Odhiambo in action during one of his loan stints

“I came to Sweden as a rookie who needed to adapt to various aspects and things so as to be ready to play at the top level. Djurgardens saw the potential in me and the loan deals have helped me improve a lot. The Swedish culture, style of football is no longer an issue for me at the moment. The focus is to give my best at Eskilstuna and return to Djurgardens ready for game time,” he said.

The winner of the Football Kenya Federation Cup with Gor Mahia in 2021 is crystal sure of punching his way to the Djurgardens team next season, inspiring the team to win titles and ultimately, leave a mark in Sweden.

“Nothing can halt my dream. With hard work, I believe I will achieve my ambition in Sweden and move to the next staircase of my career. I also yearn for a return to the Kenyan national team debut,” he added.

Odhiambo, who scored his first goal for Eskilstuna in April against Assyriska, enjoys the company of his compatriot Henry Meja at the club.

Meja, the 2020-2021 Kenyan league’s Young Player of the Season award winner, is at Eskilstuna on loan from top tier club AIK.

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