Eric Ouma Otieno, popularly known as Marcelo, is a Kenyan footballer currently playing for Swedish outfit AIK. Growing up, Marcelo’s dream was to play football beyond the borders of Kenya. He owes his success to Benjamin Kipruto who was his childhood coach at Future FC. Benjamin encouraged him to focus on football as it had immense potential to change the trajectory of his life. True to the words of his childhood coach, football has changed Marcelo’s life and now he can afford the comforts life has to offer.
Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior, known as Marcelo, is a Brazilian professional footballer
He got the nickname Marcelo while playing for the Green Commandos due to his style. Marcelo, who plies his trade for Real Madrid and the Brazilian national team, is the footballer’s role model.
Ouma was born on 27th September 1996.
The footballer was born and raised in Kibera slums, Nairobi. Life was not easy but from a young age he loved playing football and hoped to pursue it as a career in future. Finding the right gear to play the game he loved was challenging due to their dire financial status. Therefore, at first he would play football barefoot.
He passed his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education Exams and proceeded to Kakamega High School. The school that has a track record of producing some of the best footballers in Kenya offered him a scholarship. Kakamega High School made him grow his football career further as he even got a chance to play in front of bigger crowds.
In his final year, he played so well at the national level and was spotted by Gor Mahia scouts. He sat for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education Examinations in 2014.
In January 2016, he signed a six months contract with Gor Mahia and renewed it to the end of the year.
In January 2017, he signed a six months contract with Kolkheti Poto, a football club in Georgia. Moving to Georgia, he experienced culture shock from the food, general lifestyle and language. However, it was a wonderful experience that taught him independence.
In May 2017, five months into his contract with the Georgia club, he got a hamstring injury. These injuries made him stay out of action for a while but with the team fighting relegation, he had to play and rely on painkillers.
By the time he got the third injury in 2017, he just wanted to give up. It affected him both mentally and physically as he was not able to play, something he loved doing.
“I was in so much pain that I never saw myself kicking the ball again. I almost quit playing football but I had to think about my background and all those people who considered me their hero,” he recalled.
In February 2018, he moved to Albanian club, KS Kastrioti.
By September 2018, he was playing for Swedish club Vasalund where he made 22 appearances and scored two goals.
In 2020, he moved to the Swedesh club AIK.
“Signing for AIK was one of the greatest moments in my career. This is a big club here in Sweden. So joining AIK has given me the motivation to work extra hard with the aim of moving to bigger leagues in Europe,” he said.
Eric Ouma made his international debut for Kenya in 2016.
In 2019, he was a squad member at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. At the AFCON finals in Egypt, he was among the notable players that played impressively. According to him, playing at the AFCON finals in 2019 was not only a dream come true but he was glad to be part of the historic squad that ended Kenya’s 15-year absence at the tournament.
Teams interested in the signature of the 24 year old will have to fork between SEK 15-20 million (Kes195m-kes200m).
Teams interested in his service
The club’s sporting director Henrik Jurelius has confirmed that a number of clubs have shown interest in the services of Marcelo. He said of a possible move:
“As I said, I do not want to participate in speculation. What I can say is that we hope that he stays longer at AIK, but it is clear that we understand that he is attracting interest from many clubs,……”
Clubs that have reportedly sent agents to monitor the player include Manchester City and Leicester City. A host of other clubs from Belgium are said to be chasing the player’s signature.