What It Takes To Be A Good Defender - David 'Calabar' Owino Reveals

The stage was set for what would have been the biggest upsets of the year. A massive underdog was just about to stun the African Cup defending champions. On the key actors was none other than David Owino, thanks to the brickwall he put out to Chelsea’s Victor Moses and the Nigerian forward line. He left a mark in Nigeria, and earned himself a second nickname - Calabar.

Over the last couple of years, he has continued to scale greater heights and gets fine by the day. Like age old wine. He certainly is Kenya’s number one defender, and Zesco United’s best.  Kenyanstar sat with Kenyan international David Owino, and here is his story.

Kenyanstar: Kindly share with us your football story. Where did it all start before you got to Zesco?

David Owino: I Started my football career at Nakuru Olympic Youth under the great coach Sammy Abida(RIP), then I later  joined St Joseph who by then were playing in the nationwide league until 2008 when the team’s name was changed to AC Nakuru. In 2009, I went to try out with Karuturi Sport and I secured a contract. I played there for 3 years then Gor Mahia came calling. Again I played for 3 years at Gor Mahia and later joined Zesco United. This is my third year at the club.                      

KS: You were a very solid defender at Gor Mahia. You did well for the club. What different things did you do to be successful at Gor Mahia?

DO: When I joined Gor mahia not much was expected from me by the Gor mahia faithfuls. The club then had established and well known defenders like Eric Masika, Ivan Anguyo and Musa Mohammed. I personally wasn't intimidated though and knew I was mature enough to compete with them for positions in the team.  

KS: You are probably the best Kenyan defender currently. What is the tactical secret to being a great stopper?

DO: To be effective and solid at the back, all it takes is good timing and being a good reader of the game.  (Pauses and laughs) However,  thank God you said ‘probably the best’. Anyway, it’s all about hard work and the desire to learn every day.

KS: After holding Nigeria to a draw in Calabar, Arnold Origi posted on his Facebook account in part: ‘..Kenya has two solid defenders. David Owino and David Ochieng.’ Kindly take us through that match in Nigeria.

DO: The match in Calabar was one of the best in many games I have played. I can say that the match came at a perfect time when I was on top of my game, having had a terrific show for Gor Mahia in the Continentals. 

KS:  On November 20th 2015 you were named the most disciplined player for Zesco. How much important is discipline in your career?

DO: I believe discipline is not even something we are supposed to talk about. You and I know far too well that discipline is very important in any career not only football.

KS: You have cemented a place in the Zesco team. Not many Kenyan players have excelled abroad. What has kept you strong in Zesco? Character, talent…?

DO: Since I landed at Zesco I have been playing regularly, and I can only say it’s  all about hard work and prayers.

KS: How is football life in  Zambia? How different is it from that in Kenya?      

DO: I must say football in Zambia is very different from ours back home. In  Zambia the pace of the game is way too high compared to Kenya.

KS:   George Lwandamina - How much of an influence has this coach been to you especially when he was still at Zesco?

DO: Lwandamina is not only a good coach buh also a father figure. I must say that he was the one who made it easy for me to settle first. 

KS: Last year, Zesco were looking to extend your contract. How is this discussion going? Are you staying at Zesco?

DO: I still am a Zesco United player till next year.

KS: Kindly tell us about your relationship with Jesse Were and Akumu. You seem quite close…

DO: Jesse and Akumu are my brothers.  This a family as you know we far from home while playing in Zambia. We keep each other on toes too while in Zambia.

KS: Harambee Stars- You have now cemented a place in the national team. Kindly tell us about your national team journey and why you are doing so well.

DO: At the national team it's very easy as I always come to camp with the right attitude ready to fight with the boys.

KS: In 2015, you brought your boyhood team -Flamingos- some jerseys. How important is it for a footballer to give back to the community?      

DO: I was born and raised in Flamingo. Bringing jerseys to the young boys there is a small gesture to somewhat encourage them to keep pushing hard as one day God will see them through.   

KS: You once said on Facebook while leaving Gor Mahia that you might consider returning to the club someday. Are you still considering that?

DO: In football one will never say never. Gor mahia made me who I am today but for now I am just focused on Zesco.

KS: Are you considering Europe?

DO: As you know, every player’s dream is to play to the highest level. If Europe comes my way, why not?

KS: Angoloma or Calabar? Which is your favourite nickname?

DO:  I am fine with both of them though back home they call me Angoloma.

KS: Any closing words to your fans?

DO: To my fans I can only say thank you for always supporting me. May God bless you abundantly.

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