Standout stars abroad: Kenyan footballers' global impact in 2023


FOOTBALL Standout stars abroad: Kenyan footballers' global impact in 2023

Festus Chuma 17:28 - 29.12.2023

Ten Kenyan footballers who excelled globally, showcasing skill and leadership in various leagues.

Kenyan footballers have continued to make significant strides on the global stage, impressing in various leagues around the world. 

As 2023 unfolds, these players have not only honed their skills but have also embodied the spirit of excellence, showcasing a blend of agility, strength, and strategic acumen that distinguishes them in the competitive arena of the beautiful game.

These 10 standouts have carved out their niches in various leagues and teams across the globe, each bringing a unique flair to the pitch. From the bustling stadiums of Europe to the vibrant arenas of the Middle East and Africa, their footprints are evident. 

Their contributions to their respective teams are not just about scoring goals or defending with rigor; it's about uplifting the team's spirit, embodying leadership, and demonstrating a level of play that resonates with both fans and critics alike.

As Pulse Sports delve into the stories of these top ten Kenyan players, it is crucial to note that their achievements are not just personal triumphs but also a testament to the growing prowess of Kenyan football on the international stage. 

Their paths, marked by both challenges and victories, reflect the evolving landscape of football, where talent from every corner of the globe gets a chance to shine. 

 Michael Olunga

Playing for Al Duhail in the Qatar Stars League, Olunga has been a key figure in the ongoing campaign. 

In previous season Olunga's prowess in front of the goal saw him retain the top scorer's award with a remarkable tally of 22 goals, following his previous season's haul of 24 goals. 

© Al Duhail X.

His impact was not limited to league games; his contributions played a pivotal role in Al Duhail clinching both the Ooredoo Cup and Qatar Cup, marking a treble win for the season.

In the 2023/2024 seaon Olunga has found the back of the net 13 times, providing one assist in 18 matches that he has played.

Olunga's influence extends beyond his goal-scoring as his ability to turn games around with his physicality, intelligence, and finishing skills makes him a defender's nightmare and a fan favorite.

Joseph Okumu

Joseph Okumu's journey took a significant leap in 2023. Leaving Belgian side KAA Gent, he signed a five-year deal with Stade de Reims in France's Ligue 1. 

This move marked a new chapter in Okumu's career, fulfilling his ambition to play in one of Europe's top leagues.

Joseph Okumu during his unveiling at Reims|Reims image

During his time at KAA Gent, Okumu was known for his speed, athleticism, and aerial prowessHis move to Stade de Reims is a testament to his growth and the potential that lies ahead in his career.

Okumu's performance at Reims has been impressive. His ability to adapt to a new league and contribute significantly to the team's defense highlights his resilience and talent.

 He has quickly become a fan favorite, with his defensive skills and ability to start attacks from the back being particularly praised. 

Okumu has played so far 12 matches and his presence in Ligue 1 not only enhances his career but also serves as an inspiration for young Kenyan footballers aspiring to play in Europe. 

Jonah Ayunga

Jonah Ayunga's football journey is a story of perseverance and determination. Despite receiving his first call-up to the Harambee Stars in 2018, Ayunga never featured for the side. 

However, he has openly expressed his desire to represent Kenya in the 2026 FIFA World Cup, showcasing his ambition and commitment to his national team.

© Imago

Ayunga's dedication to his craft is evident in his performances at the club level. His height and physicality make him a formidable forward, capable of challenging even the toughest defenders. 

The St Mirren's striker recently recovered from nagging injury but his aspirations for the World Cup are a driving force behind his continuous improvement and quest for excellence.

Looking ahead to the 2026 World Cup, Ayunga's potential inclusion in the Harambee Stars squad could be a game-changer. 

His style of play, characterized by strength and skill, could provide a new dimension to the team's attack.  

Brian Mandela

Brian Mandela's 2023 season with Mamelodi Sundowns was historic as the team won the inaugural African Football League, defeating Wydad Casablanca of Morocco in the final.

This victory, a 3-2 aggregate win, marked a significant achievement in African football, showcasing the potential of club competitions on the continent.

Mandela's contributions to Mamelodi Sundowns extended beyond the African Football League. 

The team also clinched the 2022/2023 Premier Soccer League (PSL) title, making them the first team to win the league in six consecutive PSL seasons.

Mandela's presence in the team has been pivotal as his defensive capabilities and leadership qualities have been instrumental in Sundowns' achievements. 

Though he featured few games in the year, his ability to organize the defense and inspire his teammates has not only led to success on the field but has also elevated the standard of football in the PSL.  

Eric Ouma

Erick Ouma has been a revelation for AIK in the Swedish league and his  performances in 2023 have showcased his versatility as a full-back, seamlessly transitioning between defensive duties and supporting the attack. 

His work rate, speed, and technical ability have made him a standout player in the Kenyan football landscape.

Ouma's ability to overlap, deliver precise crosses, and contribute defensively has been crucial for both AIK and the Kenyan national team. 

His impact has been significant, providing width to the team's attacking play and adding an extra dimension to their strategy. This has not gone unnoticed, as AIK's director of football, Thomas Bernsten, has acknowledged Ouma's talent and potential for a move in the winter.

 Victor Wanyama

Victor Wanyama's 2023 season has been one of resilience and adaptability. Despite limited playtime at Montreal Impact, Wanyama has continued to showcase his ability to control the tempo of the game, break up opposition plays, and contribute crucial goals. His performances have reinforced his status as one of Kenya's football icons.

©Wanyama FB page

Wanyama's leadership qualities have been evident both on and off the pitch. His experience and guidance have been invaluable to his teammates, especially in tightly contested matches and high-stakes competitions. 

His influence in shaping the outcome of games is a testament to his enduring quality as a midfielder. 

Daniel Anyembe

Daniel Anyembe has made a name for himself at Viborg in the Danish Superliga.Making 56 appearances for the club since joining in July 2021, Anyembe has proven to be a defensive prodigy.

His journey from Esbjerg's academy to the first team and his European debut speaks volumes about his talent and potential.

Anyembe's versatility as a defender is a valuable asset to both his club and the national team. 

His ability to play in multiple positions has been crucial for Viborg, and his performances have caught the attention of scouts and pundits. His potential to become a defensive stalwart is increasingly evident.

Anyembe's inclusion in the Harambee Stars highlights his international potential. His call-up for the friendlies against Qatar and South Sudan was a significant milestone, where he impressed with his skills and tactical understanding. 

 Johnstone Omurwa

Johnstone Omurwa has been remarkable in the Portuguese top-flight with Estrela da Amadora. His consistent performances at the club level have earned him a growing reputation in the national team setup.

 Omurwa's ability to read the game, make crucial tackles, and contribute offensively has made him a player to watch.

So far this season Omurwa has played 10 Premiera Liga games and he is the first Kenyan to play in the Portuguese.

His partnership with fellow defenders has been key in solidifying the team's backline. This formidable force in defense has been crucial in both domestic and international competitions.  

Follow the Pulse Sports Kenya WhatsApp Channel for more news.

Omurwa's impact in the friendly against Qatar, where he played the full 90 minutes, was particularly notable, helping Kenya secure a 2-1 victory.

Omurwa's potential for a long and successful career is evident as his rise to prominence is a story of hard work and dedication, and his performances in 2023 have solidified his status as a key player in both his club and national team.

 Richard Odada

Richard Odada's journey in 2023 has been one of growth and development. His move in August to  Danish second-tier side AAB Aalborg which marked a significant step in his career.

Odada's ability to adapt to new challenges and environments has been a key factor in his progress. His performances throughout the year have showcased his potential as a midfielder.

Odada's technical skills, tactical awareness, and work ethic have made him a player to watch in the future. His development in 2023 is a testament to his commitment to improving and making an impact in the football world.

Odada's future looks bright. His journey in 2023 has set the foundation for what promises to be an exciting career. His talent and determination suggest that he will continue to grow and succeed in the coming years.

 Mosud Juma

Mosud Juma's transfer to Saudi Arabian Division One League side Al Jabalain in June marked a significant step in his career. 

Since his move, Juma has been a revelation, showcasing his striking prowess and becoming a key player for his club. His ability to find the back of the net and his positional sense have made him a constant threat to opposing defenses.

In the 2023 season, Juma's performances have been impressive. He has displayed a remarkable ability to adapt to a new league and cultural environment, quickly becoming a fan favorite. His goals have been crucial in several matches, helping Al Jabalain in their quest for success.

Juma's journey from Kenya to the Saudi Arabian Division One League is a testament to his ambition and talent. 

At the new club he has scored thee goals so far and that sucess not only highlights his individual capabilities but also serves as an inspiration for aspiring footballers in Kenya.

  Alfred Scriven

Alfred Scriven's 2023 has been a year of breakthroughs and firsts. His first call-up to the Harambee Stars for international friendlies against Iran was a significant milestone, marking his entry into the national team setup. 


At his club IL Hodd, Scriven's performances have been nothing short of spectacular, with his goal-scoring abilities coming to the fore.

Scriven's journey to the national team has been marked by patience and hard work. At IL Hodd, his knack for finding the goal has made him an essential part of the team's attacking setup. His agility, pace, and clinical finishing have been key in numerous matches, earning him accolades and recognition.

As he continues to develop, Scriven's potential seems boundless. His performances in 2023 have set the stage for what could be a stellar career, both at the club and international levels.

 His rise serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for young Kenyan footballers aiming to make their mark in the world of football.