Kenyan goalkeeper Ian Otieno resumes duty at Zesco United, blasts media
Kenyan goalkeeper Ian Otieno has reunited with his teammates at Zambian club Zesco United after reportedly disappearing from training for a week.
Otieno was reported missing days after he made a blunder during a continental match that led to his team’s elimination from the Caf Confederation Cup tournament.
In an interview with Nairobi News, Otieno took issue with the way the Zambian and Kenya media had reported on the matter.
“I’m shocked at what was written in the media in Kenya and Zambia. It was just a small issue that has been blown out of proportion. Even if there was an issue, as a player I can handle that with the club. Nobody oppressed me and nothing went bad. That is the truth,” said an emotional Otieno.
The former AFC Leopards custodian found himself on the receiving end after making what was referred to by Zambian newspapers as ‘schoolboy’ mistake after handling a back pass that cost his side a free kick against Royal AM of South Africa on October 15.
Royal’s striker Ruzaigh Gamildien used the chance to bring his side into the game and leveled the scores to 1-1. This result led to Zesco United elimination from the competition on away goals rule since the two teams had played out to a barren draw in the first leg on October 9 in South Africa.
The elimination also led to the firing of head coach Mumamba Numba by the Ndola-based side.
Otieno was missing in action in the league duel against Kanshanshi Dynamos in the following match.
Stand-in coach Alfred Lupiya, who was forced to field second-choice keeper Gregory Sanjese, told journalists after the game that the Kenyan keeper had not turned up for training.
“I’m now fine but the reasons in the media that I feared for my life after a mistake that was seen to have cost the team and the coach are not true. I’m focused on my performance and not what is in the media which is being used to sell the papers,” added Otieno.
Zesco United Media Liaison officer Desmond Katongo said “Otieno is fine and with other players. Even if there was to be a problem, we were to solve it as a club. Nobody from the team lynched him because of the blunder he made. That is football,”
The former Leopards goalkeeper joined Zesco United in 2020 on a three year transfer deal. He previously turned out for Red Arrows also in the Zambian Super League.