Japanese footballer Yuto Kutsaba makes history with move to Nairobi City Stars
Kenyan based Japanese football player Yuto Kusaba is the latest signee at Nairobi City Stars.
He signed his employment contract on August 23, 2023, as he joined the Nairobi based club from FC Zenshin.
“🚨 𝐁𝐑𝐄𝐀𝐊𝐈𝐍𝐆: Yuto Kusaba signs as a Nairobi City Stars Player 🔵Joining from Fc Zenshin…𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐞 𝐠𝐨, confirmed. Welcome to The Den #simbawanairobi,” said City Stars in their announcement.
Mr Kusaba’s signing was met with celebration as Kenyans expressed eagerness to witness his talents on the pitch. He is the first Asian player to compete in the Kenyan top flight football league.
Later, after the signing, photos of Mr Kusaba training with his new team mates were publicized.
On March 29, 2023, Mr Kusaba expressed hopes of signing a professional football contract in Kenya, outlining his purpose and goals regarding what he termed as his “Kenyan challenge.”
“Am aiming to sign a league pro contract in Kenya, Africa, from April this year. Here is the aim and objectives of this Kenya challenge. Purpose: What lies ahead of the challenge, living better is something to discover, embody and share with everyone. Goals: Japanese sign first professional signing in Kenya minor league,” said Mr Kusaba.
On June 15, 2023, he also said, “I came to Kenya for the first time in my life to truly experience being a minority. I don’t think this just makes you feel like you don’t actually go on site. In a game where the Japanese are the only ones in the away match, a single person with a different skin color is targeted by the opponents. You can’t have this kind of experience in Japan. I can get a little stiff, but I’ll make it all a good experience.”
Mr Kusaba is set to play his first Nairobi City Stars FC match on Sunday, August 27 at the Kasarani Annex Stadium at 3pm where he and his team mates will face off against Muhoroni Youth FC.
In the 2022/2023 FKF Premier League table, City Stars ranked in at position 16 in the 18-team league with 34 points. The first five teams in the league were Gor Mahia (70 points), Tusker FC (69), Kenya Police (64), Nzoia Sugar (64) and KCB (64) respectively.
Mr Kisaba was born in 2001 in Osaka, Japan, and plays the attack position. His passion for football can be traced back to the age of 4 after deciding to follow in his older brother’s football footsteps. He played through out his schooling years but endured hardships in the sport, forcing him to go on hiatus. He rejoined the sport while in university and had to quit several club activities so he could focus on becoming a professional.
He played for FC Eazy Akashi and FC Zenshin, a Division 2 Northern Zone club based in Kenya before joining Nairobi City Stars. In their 2022/2023 season, FC Zenshin ranked in at position 12 with 33 points in the FKF National Division 2 Northern Zone- Pool B season.