In an interview with Het Nieuwsblad, Gent’s Kenyan defender Joseph Okumu explained why, despite the interest from Leicester City and Monaco, he was happy to stay in Belgium. “I understand that Gent had a higher goal, to play for the championship. I also find that more interesting than earning three times as much elsewhere and just sitting on the bench”.
In an in depth interview, Okumu went through his troubled footballing past, where time with Free State Stars in South Africa went so badly that he returned to Kenya and considered quitting the game entirely. However, a move to the second tier of the USA football pyramid led to a move to Sweden and Elfsborg, since which the Kenyan has gone from strength to strength. Gent picked him up for around 3.5 million euros. Over the summer, they were looking to take at least 15 million for the defender.
His time in South Africa has made Okumu wary of making the wrong move at the wrong time. “I am very afraid to end up in a situation like South Africa again…suppose I am disappointed and impress upon myself that I already have the level for Monaco or Leicester, then I am now only at Gent. You start to look down on the people here, and I never want that. I am not disappointed, I am live today, tomorrow will make its own plan”.
Gent travel to Stockholm to face Djurgården in the Europa Conference league, a side Okumu knows well from his time in the Allsvenskan. The Belgian side will be looking to get a better result than the 1-0 defeat at home last week.