John Otieno or “Oti” as he is fondly referred to by his peers, is our latest acquisition. He joins us from National Super League side Nakuru All Stars where he quickly established himself as a regular within a very short time. We have his exclusive interview with Sharks digital for you.
What Motivated you to join Kariobangi Sharks?
I love the playing style that Sharks have stuck to over the years, one that allows players to express themselves, it really attracts me. I have also been really following up on team captain Eric Juma, always keeping tabs on his performance and chatting with him online.We had never met before but he always motivated me whenever we were talking online. I am happy I am finally working with him.
You have risen through the ranks of Nakuru All Stars very quickly, what has been the secret?
It was really an exciting experience for me. I started the season playing in the youth team then thanks to my hard work I caught the eye of the senior team coach and in the second leg of the league I was promoted to the senior team where I managed to play regularly. I would say its all hard work , self-belief and prayer.
You now have another daunting challenge of playing in the top flight for your first time and even possibly the continental stage, how do you feel about that?
Well, I see it more as an opportunity for me to continue putting in the hard work, to continue believing in myself. At Sharks, there is a policy of believing in the youth and when I was making the decision to sign here the coach personally told me that he believes in me, so it is up to me to put in the work. So this challenge to me is an opportunity and I am ready to take it.
You have been described as an all round defender, which is you most preferred position?
I believe that the best thing to do as a player when you know you can play in more than one position is to play in each of those positions with the same urgency and dedication and that way you will never notice the difference. But on top of that I really enjoy playing at center back the most but I will work hard in wherever the coach wants me to fit in the back line.
What have you set as your targets this coming season?
I want to do my best to help the team achieve the goals set by the management in the little or major way I can. Personally, I want to work hard so that I can break into the team as soon as possible and I would love to have us defend our shield cup trophy.
You scored three goals in just eighteen appearances for your former side, do you fancy yourself as a goalscorer?
I was happy to get those goals for my side. To get to the scoresheet as a defender is always special. I look up to Sergio Ramos for inspiration and you can see he always get crucial goals in crucial games and that is what I want to do. I hope to get a couple more next season but always the priority at first is to defend.
You were recently called up to the National under 20 side, what are your targets in relation to the national team ?
Well I was disappointed to have missed out on the opportunity to play for the under 20 as I had injured my arm just days before the team hit camp but all in all I took it as a motivation since it showed that I have caught some eyes. For now we have the Olympic games qualifiers and hopefully I can get myself to the national under 23 side so that I can serve my country. I got my first call up there now so I hope we can emulate our seniors.
Do you have any friends in the team who you interacted with before you joined Sharks?
I have played together with Sydney and Shaphan in youth tournaments across Nakuru so we have known each other for sometime and I am happy we are working together again and I hope we can achieve a lot together. I remember also playing against John Kuol and Moses Mwangi in school games.
A message to the fans as we sign off?
I would like the fans to know that I am happy to be here and I shall try to share my happiness with them by putting in top performances on the pitch. I urge them to continue pushing us to greatness.
Oti is the third defender to join us this window and we look forward to seeing him done the Shark jersey with pride.