Harambee Stars midfielder Richard Odada opens up on failed Inter Milan, Juventus moves despite trialing well

STARS ABROAD Harambee Stars midfielder Richard Odada opens up on failed Inter Milan, Juventus moves despite trialing well

Mark Kinyanjui 06:00 - 06.02.2024

Odada trialed at Inter Milan in 2018 and also had trials at Juventus and Parma.

Harambee Stars midfielder Richard Odada has opened up on why he never signed for Inter Milan in 2018 despite being close

The midfielder  is fast-becoming an integral part of the Harambee Stars set up in the middle of the pack with his ability to dictate the tempo of the game and also give line breaking passes, and his talent is underpinned by the fact that he was part of Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade for three years, from 2019 to 2022.

Odada, a Laiser Hill Academy graduate was speaking exclusively to Pulse Sports when he opened up on how difficult life was at the beginning for him when he moved abroad while still an underage player in 2017.

Odada played for the AFC Leopards Cubs at u20 Level while playing for the Elite Soccer Acadamey, before his agents Yakub Yafaa and Husebi Salim arranged for him to go to Ajax Cape Town (Now Cape Town Spurs) for trials.

“After the u20 tournament wound up, I got the opportunity to go to Ajax Cape Town in South Africa,” Odada said.

“I went there, tried and trained only twice. I was required to travel back on the third day because the work permit requirements were not handled ideally.”

Odada would get his first opportunity to move to Europe by going to Serbia, and although he ended up playing for Red Star Belgrade eventually in 2019, things had initially not worked out well two years earlier.

“When I moved to South Africa, they decided it would not be fair if I started there because, as much as it was a good opportunity, they thought I was talented enough to move to Europe, so that is how I went to Serbia where I stayed for three months but I was underage because they could not sign an underage player.

“ I went back home and it was frustrating because at the end of the day, you travel to a place and stay there but you seemingly are not finding a breakthrough.

“As a coach you would know how a player is capable of doing within the first training sessions, so to be there for three months but nothing was happening was frustrating, so I came back home for two months but everything happens for a reason, so someone spotted me and contacted my agents.”

The failed move to Serbia at first was a blessing in disguise, as he was spotted by someone who made contact with his agents for a move to Inter Milan.

“ I was surprised when I heard it was Inter Milan and was shocked, but as long as it was a step and I had to take it, complete the paper work and move there.

“I was to sign there actually. Usually, Inter releases you quickly if they don’t feel you are good enough, but I stayed there for like two months and took part in like four sessions with the first team.”

Odada admits that playing with top players under Luciano Spalletti -who won the Scudetto with Napoli last season and is now the Italy coach - was a mind blowing experience, but has now revealed that the agent’s desire for fees in return for helping make connections to Inter was something he simply could not match, which is why the move to Inter failed to materialise.

“We had the likes of Mauro Icardi, Joao Mario of Portugal, but turns out, the guy who arranged the deal wanted something small for himself, and I was just a young kid still yet to earn enough, so that is why it did not work out.”

Odada also got to try out at Juventus and with Parma, a club where McDonald Mariga was previously on their books twice.

“After that, I went to Juve, but it was not really a trial because at Juve, it was more about we were playing tomorrow, but there was an impending friendly. I played it but it was not so great because I really had not trained.

“After leaving, I left for Parmer for like four days and I feel like I did very well as I smoked them, but  because I was underage, I was not able to sign for the club despite the fact that I did well.”

Odada is currently plying his trade for Danish side AaB - on loan from US side Philadelphia Union - where he has been immense as the club seeks a return to the Danish top flight league.

He has expressed optimism that a move back to a big club will materialise soon, and maybe, he could end up signing for Inter Milan permanently in future. 

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