Kahata’s wizardry expected to fire Stars

By Gilbert Wandera: Saturday, June 1st 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Harambee Stars' Francis Kahata dribbles the ball during a friendly match against Equatorial Guinea at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos County on May 28, 2018. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Francis Kahata’s curling free kick score against Nigeria in a 2014 World Cup qualifier in Calabar five years ago remains etched on the minds of many football lovers.

His stunning free-kick shocked then Nigerian first-choice goalkeeper Vincent Enyema to give Harambee Stars the lead in the 36th minute with the match ending 1-1.

Since then, Kahata featured prominently in Harambee Stars line up and it will be a great reward for the highly talented player as he plays in this month’s Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.

Gor Mahia coach Hassan Oktay says Kahata was instrumental in the team's impressive show in the season where they bagged their 18th SportPesa Premier League (SPL) title.

“I tell you something. You will never see another player like Kahata in the next decade.  He is simply in a class of his own, a gift delivered from God,  pure gold and a player you cannot find from any shop,” he said.

He continued: “ He is a wizard when he has the ball and every player at Gor Mahia loves to play alongside him. Everyone knows what I call him, and they love it in training.”

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Oktay said the club cannot afford to lose Kahata whose contract is set to expire in the next two months and Tanzanian giants Simba have expressed interest to sign him.

Kahata began his career at Thika United and at the team’s peak was one of the most talented players and it remains a surprise that he is still in Kenya.

His attempt to turn professional was nipped in the bud in 2014 when he was forced to return home at the end of his six-month loan move to FK Tirana as the two clubs could not agree.

He briefly returned to Tirana a year later after his contract at Thika United elapsed but again he had to leave almost immediately as the club failed to pay his dues.

His decision to join Gor Mahia in 2015 proved crucial as it exposed him to high profile matches and the demanding fans just raised his game.

Last year, he scored a crucial goal against South African side SuperSport United that helped Gor Mahia qualify for the group stages of the Confederations Cup for the first time.

He was also in the Gor Mahia squad that made it to the quarter-finals of this year’s Confederations Cup.

It will be difficult for Gor Mahia to hold onto the player after the Africa Cup of Nations considering that he is most likely to do well in the tournament.

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