Revealed: Why Joseph Okumu was stretchered off after 21 minutes of his Reims debut

©Stade de Reims.

STARS ABROAD Revealed: Why Joseph Okumu was stretchered off after 21 minutes of his Reims debut

Joel Omotto 07:38 - 31.07.2023

The Kenyan defender was feared to have been injured after going down early before missing Saturday’s friendly against Real Zaragoza.

Harambee Stars defender Joseph Okumu did not suffer an injury as feared when he went down before being taken off on his debut for French side Stade de Reims in a friendly match against Getafe on Wednesday.

There was a moment of panic when the Kenyan centre-back went down by himself without any opponent around him while holding his hamstring before he was excluded from the squad in their second friendly match against Real Zaragoza on Saturday.

However, it has now emerged that Okumu was feeling the effects of extensive training from his immediate former club KAA Gent and his new side.

“Okumu is not injured, just that his legs were stiff due to double pre-season,” Okumu’s agent Omar Banza told Pulse Sports while allaying any injury fears.

Okumu sealed a €12 million (Ksh1.8 billion) move to the Ligue 1 side one week ago after agreeing to a five-year deal from Gent where he spent two hugely successful years.

He immediately joined his new side for their pre-season tour of Spain and started the clash against Getafe with coach Will Still keen to assess his fitness levels.

Reims won the game 1-0 before recording a 2-1 victory against Zaragoza on Saturday which was their final match before leaving Spain on Sunday.

Banza said Okumu was given extra rest on Saturday but he is expected back for training on Tuesday as they prepare for the 2023-24 Ligue 1 kick-off on August 11.

“They were resting him, he is starting training on Tuesday. They (Reims) arrived in France in the morning from Spain,” he added.

Reims begin their Ligue 1 campaign with a tough match away to Marseille on August 12 and Still will hope to have Okumu in good condition to start.