HARD WORK PAYS

Hockey star Okumu earns maiden Harambee Starlets' call up

"I only learnt of my call up through instagram before later receiving a call."—Okumu

In Summary

• Okumu, who plays for Zone A tail-enders Mathare United, turned to her first love in January in a bid to maintain her fitness and she is one of the three players from Mathare who landed call ups. 

• Okumu follows in the ranks of fellow international Pauline Naise of Amira Sailors, who has succeeded in both football and hockey

Kenyan women's hockey players led by Gilly Okumu warm up prior to their friendly match against Sports Authority of India at SIKH Union
Kenyan women's hockey players led by Gilly Okumu warm up prior to their friendly match against Sports Authority of India at SIKH Union
Image: /ERICK BARASA

Strathmore Scorpions captain Gilly Okumu , who juggles between hockey and football is thrilled to be part of the Harambee Starlets team named to face Zambia's Copper Queens in an international friendly later in the month.

Okumu, who plays for Zone A tail-enders Mathare United, turned to her first love in January in a bid to maintain her fitness and she is one of the three players from Mathare who landed call ups. 

Others are  goalkeepers Valentine Kwaka and Lorrine Adhiambo. Okumu who termed her call up a 'surprise' has played in six matches for the slum side  before  the government halted all sporting activities on March 26.

"I didn't play many games for Mathare and this call up is a bit surprising. I did not see this coming considering I have been in football for a short while. To be honest, I was starved of action in hockey and I turned to football in search of fitness.  It is an honour to be part of the David Ouma's exciting Starlets side and I'll do my best to repay the faith they have shown in me," said the national team hockey captain.

The Sinyolo Girls' alumnus added, "I only learnt of my call up through instagram before later receiving a call."

With the chance to showcase her skills once again after featuring as a striker in high school before shifting to hockey in Form 3, Okumu  said she will maximise on her qualities to earn a starting role.

"I am blessed with speed and physique. Let me just say I am an intimidating forward who likes bullying defenders. My tall height makes me an aerial threat and if I train well and gel with the team, I can make a  difference," the 26-year-old observed.

She continued: "The national team gives people opportunities to better themselves. You have to go there with the mentality that I want to grow,"said Okumu who was part of the Kenya hockey team that beat Uganda 22-0 on aggregate two weeks ago. She has also played in Germany previously for Eintracht Frankfurt. 

 Okumu follows in the ranks of fellow international Pauline Naise of Amira Sailors, who has succeeded in both football and hockey. Naise plays for Vihiga Leeds who  feature in the FKF Division One League Zone 'B'.