What you need to know:
- The moneybags confirmed Oburu’s signing on Thursday after the player failed to agree a new contract with AFC Leopards who he joined in 2017
- Oburu is hoping the financial stability at Wazito bankrolled by Spanish tycoon Ricardo Badoer will help him focus entirely on football
- Ambani, a lethal striker during his playing days at AFC Leopards, believes Oburu will prove a good addition upfront where they struggled to get goals
Vincent Oburu has set ambitious targets at his new home Wazito; winning the club its maiden Kenyan Premier League title and a return to the national team, Harambee Stars.
The moneybags confirmed Oburu’s signing on Thursday after the player failed to agree a new contract with AFC Leopards who he joined in 2017.
The 23-year-old forward said that it is through Wazito he will achieve his dream of being one of the best strikers in Kenya having blown hot and cold in AFC Leopards' Rio Tinto.
“Signing for Wazito is one of the hard decisions I have had to make because I thought it was the best way to rescue my career. I have played for AFC Leopards for the past three years but couldn’t nail a starting role in the team,” Oburu told Nation Sport on Thursday.
Oburu returned a paltry 20 goals for Ingwe in all competitions during his three-year stay at the den. He spiraled down the pecking order under both Rwandese Casa Mbungo and current coach Anthony Kimani, his contribution being limited to a substitute's role.
“I have always given my all when handed a starting role including scoring a fantastic goal against Mathare United in Mumias in the first leg. I can play as a winger and a striker so I couldn’t understand why I was being benched all the time,” said Oburu.
Oburu is hoping the financial stability at Wazito bankrolled by Spanish tycoon Ricardo Badoer will help him focus entirely on football. He should consider himself lucky having arrived at Wazito at a time when Fred Ambani has been confirmed as head coach following a scrappy 2019/20 season that saw five coaches Stanley Okumbi, Frank Ouna, Hamisi Abdalla, Melis Medo and Stewart Hall all part ways with the club.
Ambani, a lethal striker during his playing days at AFC Leopards, believes Oburu will prove a good addition upfront where they struggled to get goals.
“Every coach signs a player with an intention of wining the league and we have done that by getting the services of Oburu. I have been following up on him and he can play as a winger and a striker because of his powerful left foot,” Ambani said.
“I can field him as a striker in a team without a solid defence and as a winger in a defensive team so as to create space for another striker upfront. Fielding Oburu will depend on the nature of the game but my main target is to get goals from him," added the 1998 KPL top scorer.
Apart from Oburu, Wazito have already confirmed the signing of former Gor Mahia striker Boniface Omondi. The club last month released 12 players and is expected to be busy in the market during this transfer window.
Oburu's football journey
The 23-year-old Oburu joined AFC Leopards in 2017 after being promoted to the senior team. He had previously turned out for Kibera’s Shofco where he impressed in the Nairobi Regional League. Alongside Austin Odhiambo he was among key players of the AFC Leopards youth team that performed well in the 2016 Kenyan Premier League Under-20 tournament under the tutelage of former Harambee Stars striker Boniface Ambani.
Oburu was the subject of a transfer row between Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards after electing to join the latter in 2017. The matter was amicably solved by the two eternal rivals but Oburu alleges he was "misled into double signing."
“I was young then and some people who I don’t want to mention misled me. I think the decision to recognise me as an Ingwe player then was fair because I had just started playing professional football. That does not mean Gor Mahia was not a good team then,” he says.
In 2017, the youthful attacker received a call up to the national team for the Cecafa Senior Cup Challenge which Harambee Stars won after beating Zanzibar on penalties at Kenyatta stadium in Machakos.
But three years down the line, Oburu has turned down a contract extension at Leopards opting for the exit door, a decision that didn't go down well with club chairman Dan Shikanda.
"Unfortunately Oburu Vincent walked out of the club and joined Wazito FC when we were in the process of even increasing his salary, but we thank those including striker Elvis Rupia who have extended their contracts to do duty for Ingwe next season,” said Shikanda.
It remains to be seen whether the talented forward will realise his potential at Wazito who have had a high turnover of players and coaches since returning to the topflight league last year.