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Patrick Alfred Namai: The Fall Of Harambee Stars Defender From Stardom To Selling Charcoal In Eldoret

In his heydey, Patrick Alfred Namai was a prolific Kenyan footballer who played for Harambee Stars as a defender. Patrick, who has shared the field with professional players like Paulo Maldini (then an FC Milan player), represented Kenya in various matches through the 80s and 90s.

Despite the dedication, he would share his woes with a local media house decrying how he got nothing out of the career and ended up as a charcoal seller in Langas, Eldoret.

“I played football, good football, but luck was not on my side. If things had gone well, I would have become a star, even like our very own Victor Wanyama who captains Harambee Stars and plays for English Premier League Tottenham Hotspurs. But here I am, a poor man now selling charcoal,” he was quoted by The Standard

Education

After completing his primary education at Kapsoya Primary School, he joined Kakamega High School, where he played for the Ministry of Works FC.

Football Career

While in Kakamega High School, he played alongside former Harambee Stars Striker Mike Okoth, who is currently in Belgium. In an interview with The Standard, he also revealed that he was  a deskmate of Najib Balala, mining Cabinet Secretary.

He was part of the under 21 team in the 1980s and became part of the national team that played in Italy in 1986. The former footballer also led the under-21 squad to Zambia and rose to become the team captain.

He went on to play for Rivatex FC  before moving to Eldoret Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC), Eldoret with the latter employing him.

Sharing past experiences, he revealed that unlike today when footballers are paid, back then it was simply a hobby. People played because of the pride they took in their country.

However, trouble began when KCC folded and he found himself jobless and facing financial woes. The former defender blamed the former Kenya Football Federation for not offering employment opportunities to experienced players within the organization.

Married to Rachael Chepsang, the father of six (who named all his children after famous footballers), asked for help from the government, especially his former deskmate Najib Balala.