Kenyan prodigy William Gitama dreams of playing in Europe

William Gitama

Kenya’s Willian Gitama poses with the Golden Boot after emerging top scorer in the  Costa Daurada Cup in Spain.

Photo credit: Toto Arege | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The 17-year-old was the joint top scorer alongside teammate Austine Odongo.
  • Gitama was promoted to Bandari's senior side from the club's youth team in January.

In Barcelona

Talanta Hela boys Under-19 forward William Gitama has said he dreams of playing in Europe.

Gitama, top scorer in the just-concluded Costa Daurada Cup tournament in Barcelona, Spain, believes he has all it takes to join the paid ranks in Spain.

The 17-year-old won the award alongside teammate Austine Odongo after scoring three goals in five matches in the tournament.

"I just believed in God and myself. My dream is to play football in Europe. I pray that I get scouted to play professional football in Spain," said Gitama, a Form Four student at Serani Boys High School in Mombasa.

He scored a goal each in wins over Ce Constanti (3-0) and XBuyer (4-0) in the group stages and their 3-0 win over Usurbil from Barcelona in the final at Futbol Salou Sports Centre.

The girls' team suffered a 2-0 loss in a penalty shootout against Sporting de Portugal of Portugal, following a 1-1 draw in regular time.

Gitama was promoted to the Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKF-PL) side Bandari SC from their youth team in January, along with four other players.

The other players were David Wanyama, Izzadin Ramadhan, Renson Wakalo and Hamisi Nyale, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Chapa Dimba Coastal region tournament.

"Joining Bandari was truly a dream come true for me. It wasn't an easy journey, and I had to push myself harder on the pitch than ever before. My path to joining the senior team was preceded by being a part of the Bandari Youth team. This entire process demanded a great deal of patience from me," added Gitama.

Last season, he scored seven goals in six league matches for the youth team but sustained an ankle injury that kept him out for three months.

The young star was part of the Cecafa Under-20 boys provisional squad called to camp by coach Salim Babu, but he did not make the final squad. Kenya finished second behind Uganda.

"I am grateful for the journey and the lessons it has taught me. Now, a  Bandari FC player, I am ready to continue working hard and contributing to the success of the club."

Born and bred at Kisauni in Mombasa County, the former Kisauni Hope FC player and St. Antony's Boys Kitale student started playing football at six years old and never looked back despite growing up in a tough neighbourhood.

Under-19 boys' coach Stanley Okumbi says Gitama's performance was a surprise.

"Before we left Kenya, he wasn't particularly sharp until we arrived at the tournament, but it was evident that he had potential both on and off the ball," said Okumbi.

"His future depends on how Bandari utilizes him. If they sign him and he doesn't get enough playing time, he's in the wrong place. However, if he's playing, then he's in the right place.," added Okumbi.

The teams, which will continue training in Spain for another week, were set to watch a live La Liga match between Barcelona and Las Palmas at the Estadi Olympic Luis Companys Stadium in Barcelona.