Kenyan international Ian Otieno believes Wazito youngster Bixente Otieno and Kariobangi Sharks goalkeeper Brian Bwire will become key players for the national team in the near future.
Ian, who has now spent three seasons in the Zambian Super League (ZSL), says he is still in touch with Kenyan football and opines the two are the best goalkeepers in the country at the moment.
“They are both young and very good in their game. They have the ability and talent and I believe the future of the goalkeeping department in the national team is safe in their hands,” Ian said.
“Bixente is coming up very well at Wazito and if he keeps his head up and keeps working hard he will have a great future. Bwire has already been introduced in the national team set up now it’s just a matter of maintaining consistency and he will soon be up against the best in the game,” he added.
Ian, a former AFC Leopards and Posta Rangers custodian, has himself been touted to take over the number one jersey in the national team but he faces stiff competition from Ethiopia-based Patrick Matasi. He, however, says he is not under pressure to take over the mantle.
“I haven’t had as many national team caps as I would have loved to and therefore at the moment. I cannot really claim to be the outright first-choice custodian for the national team,” he said.
“I have to play consistently first, at least 10 or 15 matches for the national team then I can consider myself Kenya One or accept to be called that but for now my focus is on getting better as a goalkeeper and do my best whenever I’m called upon,” he added.
Ian Otieno moved to Zambian champions Zesco United at the beginning of this season after spending two seasons at Red Arrows.
He paid glowing tribute to Gor Mahia custodian Boniface Oluoch, AFC Leopards goalkeeping coach Lawrence Webo and former Harambee Stars goalkeeper Matthew “Ottamax” Owino for contributing to his growth.