Eric “Marcelo” Ouma is taking the SportPesa Premier League by storm. At just 19, he has made the left back position at champions Gor Mahia his own.
At the weekend, Ouma put up yet another virtuoso display in the green jersey, picking out team mate Jacques Tuyisenge with a pin-point deliveries that the latter nodded in to hand K’Ogalo a 2-1 win over Thika United and continue with their charge for the league title.
Ouma’s meteoric rise this year has confounded critics and admirers alike.
A graduate of the famed Green Commandos of Kakamega High School, Ouma made his big leap from school football to Kenya’s most decorated football club in January and is already making his mark.
When he docked at K’Ogalo in January, the left back position was under the stranglehold of Rwanda international Abouba Sibomana, but the youngster he has since elbowed his senior mate to the periphery.
Gor coach Jose Ferreira said: “He gives us quality and more dimension. He’s a quality player and at his age, he has a lot to offer and we are pleased to have him.”
Small in stature, Ouma has strong balance, technical ability and searing pace which he uses to terrorize opponents.
His style of play has drawn comparisons with Real Madrid and Brazilian left-back Marcelo’s, from whom he derives his nickname.
Understandably, at Gor, he is among the first names on the team sheet.
His bravery on the pitch and eye- catching display has also seen him force his way to the national football team Harambee Stars where he played the entire match as Kenya beat Congo’s Red Devils 2-1 at Safaricom Kasarani Stadium on June 5 in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.
His ability to play in attack coupled with his solid defensive skills have made him stand out from the crowd.
“I’m a utility player and can play in any position. I used to be a striker before and I’m enjoying myself.
“The aim is to play and work hard and keep moving,” he told Daily Nation Sport on Monday. “We did well (against Thika) and my focus is to help Gor win the league, God willing.”
In other matches, Tusker reclaimed the leadership of the log after edging Posta Rangers 1-0 at the Machakos Stadium on Sunday to stretch their points tally to 32.
Mathare had climbed to the top of the league table on Saturday after beating Ulinzi Stars 1-0 at Nyayo Stadium.
The slum boys now occupy second position on 30 points, followed by Gor Mahia (29) and Ulinzi Stars (27) in that order.