Sport

England-born defender keen on Harambee Stars call-up

England-born defender keen on Harambee Stars call-up
  • Crawley Town defender born in England 21 years ago to a Kenyan mother and Sierra Leonean father plays in League Two
  • Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi, in an exclusive interview with Nation Sport, confirmed he was keen to work with the youngster
  • It is these attributes that have, perhaps attract the interest of West Brom, with the Championship side reported to be preparing an estimated Sh100 million bid for his services

David Sesay is at pains to explain why he was unable to honour a call-up to the Kenya national football team ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Egypt.

"People say I rejected the chance to play for Kenya but that is not true," he told Nation Sport in a video interview from his base in England.

"I don't have a Kenyan passport. That was the main factor at the time when the Kenya FA (Football Kenya Federation) officials approached me," explains the youngster.

"I had also just changed clubs at the time and I had to settle down. Now I am 100 percent ready to play for Kenya."

Sesay was born in England 21 years ago to a Kenyan mother. His father, Deen Sesay also turned out for Sierra Leonean national football team. His mother was born in Ndenderu in Kiambu County but relocated to the UK.

His younger sister also resides in the UK but the player also mentions 'an extended family in Kenya' which he keeps close contact with. Under the current football laws, the Crawley Town defender is eligible to represent either England, Sierra Leone and Kenya. Strictly speaking, he can only choose one.

If he opts for Kenya, he would first need to apply for a Kenyan passport. Kenyan laws allow for dual citizenship. "Kenya is the best option," he stresses.

Harambee Stars coach Francis Kimanzi, in an exclusive interview with Nation Sport, confirmed he was keen to work with the youngster.

"He is a young right back and winger. We also have Phillip (Mweene) in Germany and Daniel (Anyembe) in Denmark who have Kenyan roots and can play on the right side of defence. My experience with these players (of Kenyan descent) is that normally they confirm their availability for national team duty in the media but when we call them up, they do not respond. If Sesay is now available, we will give him a chance," said Kimanzi.

Sesay says he followed Kenya's performances at the Nations Cup keenly. Harambee Stars failed to overcome the first hurdle at the continental championship after losing to eventual finalists Senegal and Algeria, and beating Tanzania in her Group 'C' engagements.

POSITIVE SIGNS

"It (the Nations Cup) is a big tournament in Kenya and all over TV here in England. I followed Kenya's games. We were in a tough group, but the team showed positive signs and the players really expressed themselves. There is another tournament in two years and it would be an honour to be part of the set-up."

Sesay started playing football at the age of six. He spent time at Chelsea's academy.

"I started playing while in school and my family supported me. I briefly trained at Chelsea before moving to (English Premier League side) Watford where I stayed for 10 years and enjoyed the best experience of my career so far,” he says.

At Watford, he trained alongside other England starlets, including Borrusia Dortmund starlet Jadon Sancho who is now attached to Borussia Dortmund in Germany and regarded as the best England youngster of his generation.

"He is a good friend and we are always in touch," says Sesay.

David Sesay, a defender who plays for Crawley
David Sesay, a defender who plays for Crawley Town in UK fourth-tier football team, at Watford. Sesay was born in England 21 years ago to a Kenyan mother and his dad, Deen Sesay who also turned out for the Sierra Leone national football team. His mother was born in Ndenderu, Kiambu County but relocated to the UK. PHOTO | POOL

Sesay's stay at Watford came to an end when he was released by the club. Soon after, he joined League Two side Crawley Town in the fourth-tier of England’s football system. "I was inspired by making the step up from playing reserve football to competitive and first team football," he points out.

"It has been a good experience. I was named the young player of the season."

EFFICIENT DRIBBLER

Tall and strong, Sesay is predominantly a right back. "My main job on the pitch is to ensure I put a lot of crosses in the opponents box, and also ensure I prevent crosses from getting into my box."

He can also play at left back and on side of midfield, a position referred to in football as winger. Videos on YouTube suggest he is an efficient dribbler who uses a bit of skill and pace to get away from his markers. He also has an eye for goal.

It is these attributes that have, perhaps attract the interest of West Brom, with the Championship side reported to be preparing an estimated Sh100 million bid for his services.

"It is a good thing to read, but I let my agent concentrate on that as I play my football."

Sesay says he has been a regular visitor to Kenya. Time permitting, he visits at least once every year. "I understand a bit of Kikuyu language. I am learning Swahili. I love Kenya. Everything over there is natural. I have a family in Malindi and I have also been to the national parks."

"I attended one Kenyan Premier League match at Kasarani betwen Gor Mahia against Leopards. I was excited by the energy of the fans and some of the talent on parade."

Just like many other athletes, Sesay has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic which has led to the cancellation of several sporting events. His hope however is that normalcy will soon resume.

"I didn't think it will be this serious. Games and training has stopped. All games and training has stopped here. I am reading of 1,000 deaths a day. We have to follow government guidelines and hope the situation improves. I exercise once a day to maintain my fitness levels."

Most naturalised Kenyans who have sought to turn out for Harambee Stars in the past have not been successful. They include Christopher Mbamba and Taiwo Atieno.