‘Calabar’s’ influence to help Harambee Stars in Egypt

By Gilbert Wandera: Friday, May 24th 2019 at 00:10 GMT +3 | Football
Zambian based ZESCO United's Defender David Owino Calabar train at Nyayo National Stadium in preparation for the forthcoming African Cup Of Nations Qualifier clash against Zambia on Sunday, September 3, 2015. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

On March 23, 2013, Harambee Stars made history by holding Nigeria’s Super Eagles to a 1-1 tie in a World Cup qualifier match played in the Nigerian city of Calabar.

Until then, Nigeria had always thrashed Harambee Stars at their backyard with ease.

On that historic March day, former Gor Mahia defender David ‘Calabar’ Owino was one of the players thrown into the limelight.

Owino stood out for making former Liverpool and Chelsea forward Victor Moses look like a beginner.

With that performance, he earned the nickname ‘Calabar’ and it has stuck to date just as his appearance for the national team Harambee Stars and playing in next month’s Africa Cup of  Nations finals is a major achievement for a player who has given his all over the years.

According to Gor Mahia Deputy Secretary General Ronald Ngala, the decision to sign the player in 2012 was taken to bring in new talent in a then aging squad and the player fitted well.

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“He came in a time that some of our squad members were leaving. We needed someone who could be a rock at the back and he fitted the role very well.

“He showed great leadership qualities but because some of our more experienced players were still active, we could not make him the captain otherwise he deserved it,” he said.

Gor Mahia assistant coach Zedekiah Otieno describes the defender as a team player and one who shows commitment in every match.

“He has all the ingredients to make a good impact in the tournament in Egypt and is a good addition to the squad.”

The 31-year-old Owino was born in Nakuru and played for Nakuru All-Stars before Gor Mahia snapped him up in 2012.

He won the SportPesa Premier League (SPL) title with Gor Mahia in 2013 the same year he made his debut for the national team Harambee Stars in a 1-0 win over Namibia during a World Cup qualifier match at Nyayo Stadium.

In 2014, Gor Mahia were forced to part with their prized defender after Zambian top side Zesco United signed him on a three-year deal. In the same year, ‘Calabar’ won the Zambian league with Zesco.

He has enjoyed great success with Zesco and in 2016 the club reached the semi-finals of the lucrative CAF Champions League tournament.

In 2017, Zesco reached the quarter-finals of the Confederations Cup.

In summary

2013 -The year Owino made his debut for Harambee Stars

4 - Number of League titles Owino has won with Zesco United in Zambia

2 - Number of goals, Owino has scored for Harambee Stars