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AFC Leopards star Nabwire feels virus disruption is a blessing in disguise

Last updated 2 months ago | By Rodgers Eshitemi

AFC Leopards Marvin Nabwire reacts after missing a goal against Mathare FC during KPL match at Kenyatta Stadium, Machakos County. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

AFC Leopards midfielder Marvin Nabwire admits his battle for return to action from a nagging knee injury has been a draining experience.

But the good news to the Ingwe fraternity is that the Kakamega High alumnus has finally recovered from the injury that has kept him on the sidelines for almost a year.

And having spent the better part of his career in the den at the physio's room than on the pitch, Nabwire considers the current break into the season a blessing in disguise as it has given him more time to recuperate and regain fitness.

The 2017 national secondary schools games title winner was close to a comeback when the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) was suspended in March due to coronavirus outbreak.

Nabwire, who has so far scored 12 goals (eight in KPL and four in domestic cup) for Leopards, ruptured his left Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and meniscus in Ingwe's 2-2 draw against Sofapaka in December 2018.

He then underwent surgery in April last year but suffered a recurrence of the knee problem when Leopards beat Kisumu All Stars 2-0 at the lakeside city on January 25.

And in an interview with Standard Sports, Nabwire explained how difficult and frustrating his journey to recovery has been.

"It has been a really frustrating and draining experience for me. Just when I thought I had recovered, I suffered another setback," said Nabwire.

"I think this experience made me grow mentally, hardened me and made me a better player. It is my hope that I will be injury free and continue playing."

He added: "My knee is now in good shape, but the worst of it is that I spend most of my time with the physio as my teammates enjoyed themselves on the pitch. However, I've always remained positive and that has helped me to come back. I thank the club for all the support they gave me.

"To be honest, the break has been useful to me because it has given me more time to recover and work on my fitness. I've already started individual training as I wait for either the league to resume or start the new season. I can't wait to get involved in the team and doing what I love best."

AFC Leopards coach Anthony Kimani, who also endured the same problems during his playing days, said the return of Nabwire from a long injury layoff is like bringing a new player to the den.

"It's definitely going to be a big boost to us once Nabwire returns. He made a return at some point but things didn't go well as he had to go back to the physio after a minor setback," said Kimani.

"I've been in a similar situation before and I know how it feels being out injured. But I think he is a very determined and disciplined player; I've been keenly monitoring his development and progress in order to get himself back into the team again.

He continued: "And from where I sit, all looks good and his leg is not giving him any problem at all. He's gone past the recovery stage and he's fit enough to join the team and battle it out for a starting place.

"You rarely see a player who's talented and work hard for the team at the same time. His work ethics are also superb, therefore his return is like a new player for us."

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