BY ERICK OCHIENG’

In mid April 2010, a young man from Nyakach, Enock Abiero Agwanda did what he did best: play and score in the Safaricom Sakata Ball Nyanza Regional finals in Kisumu.

He may not have sent his school Koderobara to the finals of the event that had brought the best from the Nyanza for the regional finals held at the Kisumu Polytechnic, but for having made it to the semis, Agwanda was noticed.

His size, ability to take on defenders, great acceleration, long throw-ins and heavy shots that left keepers worried whenever he approached made him stand out.

At the end of the day, he left the scene with the best scorer award. Eagle eyes on the touch line put in a good word for him to Kenyan Premier League (KPL) side Sony Sugar which shortlisted him in January 2011 and handed him a one and a half year contract in June.

Sony had to accelerate their internal process to sign him as the youngster had displayed his skills to an Africa-wide audience while playing for Sony’s youth team at the KPL U-19 tournament held in April 2011.

In his first three games of the youth football showcase, played at City Stadium, Agwanda scored a brace in the first three games on the way to being named top scorer with seven goals at the end of the tournament.

Sony had to ward off big boys Gor Mahia and Thika United who wanted him on their side.

At the close of the year, Agwanda, who had now become active in the league, was approached by 2009 KPL Champions Sofapaka. But tied down till end of 2012 at Sony, he could only wish for a move to the team but was never able to achieve it. The attention from Batoto ba Mungu became one of the biggest talking points in the off-season.

Good shots

According to his former coach Francis Baraza: "The boy has the pace that reminds me of JJ Masiga in his heydays. Besides, he has a good build, the power and the shots."

Having trained with Sofapaka for a while, national team coach Francis Kimanzi had a one-on-one chance to meet the much talked about Agwanda and probably realised with his acumen, two years is a long time to wait.

He kept his eyes on him and called him up this month as he named the provisional national team for preparations for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Togo on February 29.

From the springboard of Safaricom Sakata Ball, Agwanda flew high up and has now landed the biggest prize at his tender age: a call-up to the national team.

He is well on the path to becoming Kenya’s finest striker; a true heir to Dennis Oliech, Kenya’s best known goal-hunter. Just this past weekend Agwanda, showed glimpses of his prowess by scoring Sony Sugar’s second goal in their Kenyan Premier League 3-1 win against Mathare United.

Nyakach Enock Abiero Agwanda