Former AFC Leopards striker reveals why he never made it in football during spell in England

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Former AFC Leopards striker reveals why he never made it in football during spell in England

Mark Kinyanjui 05:41 - 11.04.2024

Former AFC Leopards striker Raymond Omondi has explained why he never made it when he moved to England in a bid to launch his professional career.

Former AFC Leopards striker Raymond Omondi has revealed the reason he never made it in football when he was based in the United Kingdom to pursue further studies.

A learned striker, Omondi rose to prominence during his time at Thika United, a now-defunct club. However, his journey to football stardom began in the dusty fields of Jamhuri, Nairobi, where he played estate football alongside notable players like Jesse Were, who later became Zesco United’s top scorer.

Omondi's passion for football ignited during his formative years, and he honed his skills in local competitions. 

Despite setbacks, such as failing to impress at Mathare United, which had potential to grant him his first opportunity in the Kenya Premier League under Coach Stanley Okumbi, Omondi remained determined.

His breakthrough came when he secured a spot in the provincial league with Pirates (now Dimba Patriots) in 2009. His talent quickly garnered attention, leading to a deal with Kibera Celtic.

 Omondi's perseverance paid off when his elder brother, musician Dan Aceda, informed him about trials at Nairobi City Stars. Remarkably, he only needed 15 minutes to impress the coaches and secure a spot on the team.

Following a successful stint with Nairobi City Stars, Omondi joined Thika United, leaving a lasting impression before embarking on a journey to England. 

There, he pursued a Master's in Finance Management at the University of Central Lancashire, aiming to revitalize his football career in a foreign setting.

“Life there is hard. It was difficult for me because I did not get a team that would give me a permit to extend my stay there,” Omondi said in a watchalong with Pulse Sports.

It was in England that the big breakthrough in football came under unexpected circumstances as former AFC Leopards coach Stewart Hall came convincing him to link up with Ingwe after landing a coaching role at the club but his stay was cut short after three weeks with Robert Matano taking over.

However, he views the move as a blessing in disguise.

“When you do not have a job and you are a student, the bills take a toll on you. That is how I got an offer to come to AFC Leopards. But I have no regrets because I got a daughter from that.

“God has his own reasons. Maybe if I had not returned, I would not have a daughter now.”

Omondi’s spell at SoNy Sugar was not fruitful, and he has now explained the difficulties of moving there as an experienced player.

“It is just an agreement. When I moved to SoNy, they paid my salary in full. They gave me accommodation. It is difficult in such a rural environment (Awendo), but we stayed in camps.

“That is the problem. You have nothing to do really in your spare time. You listen to music, make phone calls, sleep, wake up. 

“Nothing you do, and that is why I did not make it there, and it is not like here in Nairobi where you can go to class, do business and generally something else apart from football.”

Omondi has given advice on why moving to clubs of such ilk would be good for young footballers coming through the ranks.

“But if you are young, you need to be exposed to such an environment, where you will be grounded, work hard and concentrate on your football. But once you have played enough, you should go to a place that will help you do extra things like study and make extra bob.”

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