• Nyakeya’s name was drafted into the 32-man provisional squad released last week and he has expressed his desire of making it to the final squad
• Nyakeya has been a reliable player for Mathare United and emerged the club’s top scorer last year.
Mathare United winger Cliff Nyakeya is angling at graduating from a reserve player to a starter when Harambee Stars launch their bid to qualify for the Chan Championships in August.
Nyakeya’s name was drafted into the 32-man provisional squad released last week and he has expressed his desire of making it to the final squad and command a place in the starting team.
Kenya will face Burundi in the opening qualifying round of the tournament which brings players who ply their trades in domestic leagues and the winger is yearning to make his full match for the senior national team. Nyakeya featured as a reserve player under coach Sebastien Migne during the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers but he has opened up on his intentions of making it hard for the coach to ignore him should he consider him for playing time.
He was named in the National U-23 Emerging Stars provisional team which faced Mauritius in November last year in the Olympics qualifiers but was dropped from the team under unclear circumstances.
The former Gor Mahia Youth man says he has come of age and will pounce on the slightest playing opportunity and show Migne what he is made of.
“My desire is and has always been to play for the national team.
"The coach has used me as a reserve player in the Afcon qualifiers and I believe I will break into the starting team during the Chan tournament.
"It’s my wish that he grants me playing time which I want to use to aid the team qualify to the second round and eventually to the finals.
"I am not trying to prove anything but I will be keen to repay any playing time given to me with a good display,” he said.
Nyakeya, who was named the best midfielder in the last Kenyan Premier League season, has been a reliable player for Mathare United and emerged the club’s top scorer last year. He seems certain to achieve the same this season.
He is banking his hopes of breaking into Stars starting a team on the numbers he has posted at club level against the playing competition from other wingers called to the team.
He is expected to face stiff competition from Hassan Abdalla of Bandari, Gor’s Samuel Onyango, Paul Were of AFC Leopards and Joe Waithira of Wazito.
“I know the competition is high there but I have nothing to prove to the coach anymore. I have had a good season with my club and I am focusing on working to better it each time we play. Every player wants to play and all I ask is the coach to consider me for playing time. I am not worried about the competition all I want is playing time then I will leave the rest to the coach to decide.”