•If his dad Gabriel Mukolwe was still alive today, he would have appreciated why his son chose the ball and not the guitar. Edwin’s success in football has been amazing but Gabriel is long gone.
•“Competitively and more professionally, I started at Green Commandos in 2012, where I earned my first national team call up.”—Edwin
One day in his early childhood, Bidco United goalkeeper Edwin Ambani Mukolwe received two gifts from his father — a soccer ball and a toy guitar. He picked the ball and forgot about the guitar.
If his dad Gabriel Mukolwe was still alive today, he would have appreciated why his son chose the ball and not the guitar. Edwin’s success in football has been amazing but Gabriel is long gone.
Currently, Edwin proudly dons the colours of Kenyan top tier newbies Bidco United after a successful stint with National Super League side Nairobi Stima in the previous season.
“My mother tells me when I was a toddler, my dad brought two presents; a toy guitar and a soccer ball. I picked the soccer ball. So I guess I was born with it,” he says.
Edwin says he hasn’t really cared to find out what became of the guitar because as far as he is concerned, he was not cut out for music in the first place.
“As far as I was concerned, as my mum would continue to narrate, I cared less about it. Maybe it was pawned or something. It was of no use to me. ”
Born on February 25, 1997, Edwin is the last born in a family of three children. He has two brothers Kelvin Mukolwe and Kennedy Mukolwe and a sister, Charity Mukolwe.
He kicked off his stellar career at Kabete, where he grew up as a child. His father worked for the University of Nairobi School of Veterinary Medicine located in the area and was given accommodation by the institute at a place called Jericho.
“As long as I remember, I played competitively since I was in lower primary school. Like every boy, I played in my neighbourhood with the big boys. Started when I was 13 to represent Jericho (Kabete),” he said.
Edwin started cutting teeth in the game when he joined Kakamega High School’s renowned football team—the Green Commandos. There, his star began to rise and he would soon find himself donning the national team colours.
“Competitively and more professionally, I started at Green Commandos in 2012, where I earned my first national team call up.”
It was during the U-17 tournament that he was named the best custodian in the national edition of the Copa Coca-Cola U-17 tournament.
“I am a winner and being crowned the best goalkeeper in the country has always been my best moment in soccer.”
Commandos subsequently secured a ticket to represent the country in the Copa Coca-Cola U-17 tournament in South Africa.
Edwin says although he has been a goalkeeper all along, he can easily fit in the shoes of a midfielder should need arise.
“Yes. I am comfortable with my feet ( I play in the midfield too) but goal-keeping has always felt like home.”
He still basks in the glory of debuting in the Kenyan Premier League in his teen-age years.
“Playing my debut in the premier league at 19 also works well to be a highlight. We played to a 2-2 draw against Tusker FC back then when I was in AFC Leopards and I had a really good game.”
He has not disappointed in the world of academics either. Edwin is a paragon of how one can successfully juggle academics with sports. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in international business administration at the United States International University.
He attributes his achievement to the constant encouragement he received from his father during his formative years. “Before his demise (May his soul rest in peace), my father was supportive. He did not have a problem with me playing.”
And although his mother Jane Mukolwe didn’t instantly warm up to the idea of her son playing football, she gradually embraced his passion and has since turned out to be his number one fan.
“It took a while for my mum to accept it fully, but she has been my greatest supporter especially after she saw my potential when I got recognised at the national level during the 2015 Copa Coca-Cola tournament.”
“She, however, always worked to ensure I understand the importance of education and balancing the two.”
Unfortunately though, his father is not around anymore to witness Edwin’s success in football. Gabriel left the scene at a time Edwin needed him the most.
“I had just finished my primary level of education. I was 14, turning 15. No, it did not affect my career in any way. I wish he was here to witness my growth over the years but it happened and there was nothing I could do about it.”
Edwin prides himself in having played for the national team while still in high school. He was a Form Two student at Kakamega High School when he received his first junior call up. He observes that playing for Kenya against South Africa in the U-20 tournament in 2018 highlighted his blossoming career.
That notwithstanding, he has had a share of his low tides too in his seemingly perfect career and says he never wants to recall an incident in which his coach replaced him barely half an hour into the match.
“My worst moment in football was when I got substituted in the 35th minute during a league game in 2017 while playing for Leopards against Nairobi City Stars. We went on to lose the game 3-2.”
He was part of the Nairobi Stima squad that was disbanded in 2020 when the shirt sponsor Kenya Power terminated its sponsorship. How did it feel when he received the information?
“Yes! It was an unfortunate incident, devastating to say the least but nothing in my span of control. In as much as it was a lost opportunity to showcase my talent and skill, it allowed my transition to Bidco United, where I feel confident about better tidings.”
“I have learned to look for the good in every situation.”
Edwin, who draws inspiration from Bayern Munchen’s Manuel Neuer and Mammelodi Sundowns’ Dennis Onyango, says he would one day wish to ply his trade in a top foreign league including the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, the MSL in the USA and the South African Premiership where he would savour turning out for Mamelodi Sundowns.
He urges budding footballers never to give up on pursuing their dreams because one can only achieve much by being consistent in practice.
“As long as you keep working towards it, your dream is valid. You increase your chances of success by constantly improving through practice. Always remember to have fun too!”
How does he spend his free time?
“I do nature walks with my lady, I read, I write once in a while and run my sports equipment shop. I spend time with family too.”
Date of Birth: February 25, 1997
Clubs featured for:
2016 to 2018: AFC Leopards SC (KPL)
2020: Nairobi Stima Football Club (NSL)
2021: Bidco United (KPL)
-2017 to present: Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in international business administration at the United States
-2012-2015: Kakamega High School.
-2009-2011: Westlands Primary School, Nairobi.
-2003-2008: Loresho Primary School
-Youngest goalkeeper in the Kenya Premier League with AFC Leopards in 2016.
-Gotv champion with AFC Leopards in 2017.
-Sportpesa cup finalist with AFC Leopards in 2017.
-Kenya Secondary School Sports Association soccer games champion in 2014 with Kakamega
-Best goalkeeper at Copa Coca-Cola national tournament in Mombasa 2012.
-Part of the Kenya team that finished at position 4 at the Copa Coca-Cola international tournament in South Africa in 2012.