•Lopaga says he gathered sufficient experience from his outing with the Kenya U-23 team at the Cecafa championship in Ethiopia where they emerged fourth overall.
•In 2017, Gor Mahia Youth coach Tom Ogweno spotted him in a friendly match and invited him to join the squad
As Josphat Lopaga continuously endured the austere, cold and abandoned streets five years ago, he had absolutely no idea he would one day ply trade for Posta Rangers in the Kenyan Premier League.
Today, the 20-year-old proudly dons the coveted mailmen's jersey after successfully shaking off his agonising past that saw him rummage through the bins for stale food.
Although his sorrow-ridden past may have left a bitter taste in his mouth, he never allowed himself to drown in self-pity. The infectious smile on the lad's face belies his ordeal as he clearly defines his plans for the new season.
"My objective is to score as many goals as possible and help my team win the FKF-PL title. I believe we can easily achieve that with the current crop of players the team boasts of," said Lopaga.
"We have noted marked improvement since the arrival of coach Stanley Okumbi mid last season and he has the experience to guide the side to greater heights," said Lopaga.
Lopaga says he gathered sufficient experience from his outing with the Kenya U-23 team at the Cecafa championship in Ethiopia, where they emerged fourth overall.
"I learned invaluable lessons in the Cecafa championship that will help me a great deal in the local league."
Asked if he felt he was now ripe for a senior call-up, Lopaga said he would get his head down to secure his rightful place in the competitive squad.
"I feel it's high time I played for the national team, well, but I'm also aware such opportunities don't come naturally. I must work hard to earn a call-up and that's exactly what I'm planning to do this year," said Lopaga.
Lopaga still basks in the glory of wrapping up the season with a solitary goal which he netted against none other than champions Tusker at Ruaraka grounds.
Lopaga's journey in football began after he was plucked from the streets where he had survived as an urchin for the better part of his formative years.
Lopaga eventually found a home at City Stadium Homeless Youth Rehabilitation Centre and honed his skills at Shy Football Academy. He enrolled at Joseph Apudo Primary School before proceeding to Highview Secondary School.
“I was rescued from the streets by the City Stadium Homeless Youth Rehabilitation Centre. They deployed their staff who came and urged us to join the centre,” said Lopaga.
In 2017, Gor Mahia Youth coach Tom Ogweno spotted him in a friendly match and invited him to join the squad. “Ogweno took me as his son and made me comfortable. He encouraged me to take football seriously and to date, I owe the strides I have made in football to him,” he said.
"It wasn't long before I was accepted in the national U17 and 18 teams after a good show in the Division Two Eastern Zone league," said Lopaga.
In 2019, he joined Mt. Kenya United in the National Super League.
Lopaga’s exceptional exploits on the pitch drew the attention of Posta Rangers head coach Stanley Okumbi who enlisted him in his squad.