Nairobi News


What awaits Victor Wanyama in MLS

Harambee Stars skipper Victor Wanyama will be looking to revive his career at Major League Soccer (MLS) side Montreal Impact after struggling with injuries in the last two seasons.

He ended his seven-year stay in the English Premier League on Wednesday when he swapped Tottenham Hotspur for the Canadian outfit in search of playing time.

Here, Nation Sport samples what Wanyama should expect at his new home.

1. Wanyama becomes the third Kenyan to play in the MLS after Lawrence Olum and Handwalla Bwana. No Kenyan has won the MLS title but Wanyama has won trophies abroad notably with Scottish giants Celtic. He remains the only Kenyan to have scored in the Uefa Champions League and he will hope to write history once again by winning the MLS title.

2. “Here, I am like a Ferrari among Fiats. And it can happen that the Ferrari can become the Fiat, or the Fiat can become the Ferrari,” said Zlatan Ibrahimovic bemoaning the quality of the MLS during his stay at Los Angeles Galaxy. Having played in Europe for over a decade, Wanyama will be expected to be Montreal’s Ferrari and fans will want him to have an immediate impact. He did well in his early days at Southampton and Tottenham so this is familiar pressure for him.

3. Nigerian Oriji Okwonkwo and Senegalese custodian Clement Diop are the only Africans in Montreal’s squad this season. Wanyama will definitely find their presence helpful as he looks to settle in at Canada which is a completely different environment from what he was used to in England for the last seven years.

4. Thierry Henry was one of the determining factors behind Wanyama’s move. The Frenchman is seeking to rebuild his coaching career after a nightmare spell in charge of Monaco that saw him sacked after just three months in charge. Henry is a disciple of Pep Guardiola’s tiki taka philosophy which is hinged on an efficient number six who makes the team tick. Henry will hope he can bring Wanyama back to his imposing self that made him one of the best defensive midfielders in England in the past decade.

5. The arrival of Wanyama confirms Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo is keen on transforming the club to a title-winning side. Already, the club has former Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic and former Inter Milan midfielder Saphir Taider in their ranks and Wanyama will definitely be expected to lift the club at least to the play-offs slots having missed out in the last three seasons.