When you talk about the current goalkeeping crop in the Kenyan scene, the name Levis Opiyo must spring up.
Having featured for a series of clubs in the Kenyan Premier League, Opiyo saw it wise to move to the National Super League with Nairobi City Stars.
And after being part of a side that is angling for a promotion, he opens up to the City Stars website team on how his footballing careers have panned since his school days.
On his football journey
I schooled at the Kenyatta Primary School in Thika before moving to Kabuyefwe Friends High School. In form 2 I moved my schooling to Central Province soccer powerhouse Tetu High.
My football star started shinning while at Kenyatta Primary School where I was the only one to reach Nationals ball game twice. That made me an attraction from High Schools that all offered me scholarships.
His Kenyan Premier League initiation
While at Tetu High School there was this Safaricom Sakata Ball tournament that was played in 2010 and 2011. I featured in the two tournaments and emerged as the best goalkeeper on both occasions.
That convinced my home team Thika United, who had been watching me keenly, to snap me up. They offered me a full Scholarship. And that’s how I joined the Premier League.
His best Kenyan Premier League season
Definitely 2017 with Mathare United.While at the club I met the best coach in Kenya (Francis Kimanzi) who likes to play the ball from the back. That really made me happy because that is my strong point. He gave me confidence and encouraged me every time to play that way.
So game by game I grew my performance and ended up playing 27 of the 34 games that season and it was little wonder I got nominated for the season-ending goalkeeper of the year award. I emerged fourth.
On his Germany stint
Yes, that was in 2018. I left Posta Rangers and headed out to Germany for trials and signed for a club known as Fortuna Babelsberg which was playing in the lower tier.
The experience was good; I learnt a lot but the league was not competitive enough because of the tier they were playing in. Due to funds, lack of, I decided to return home after the season to join Vihiga United on a short-term deal to the end of the 2018/19 season.
On his versatility
I started football as a midfielder at 10 years of age at Islamic Youth Academy. One day in a certain tournament our goalkeeper didn’t appear and my coach Beto asked around; “Who can play as a keeper?”
“I can,” I said. And I found it so interesting. And that’s how I transformed from an upfield player to a goalkeeper.
On his City Stars arrival
Yes. That time I was at AFC Leopards waiting to seal a deal but I heard about City Stars targets and how they were recruiting experienced players. I was made aware they had a good structure, a good set plan, and that’s when I decided to join.
On the best defenders, he’s played with
As a keeper, you must have a good understanding with your defenders so that they protect you well. I am happy I have heard a chance to play with top brave defenders in the league. They include Joash Onyango and Maurice Ojwang at Western Stima, George Wise Owino at Mathare United, Collins Okumu, Joakins Atudo and Charles Odete at Posta Rangers, Bernard Ochieng at Vihiga United (now Wazito) and Salim Shitu Abdalla at City Stars.
On City Stars objectives
At the moment in City Stars, we are doing good and topping the NSL. My aim is to see them maintain top spot and win the league and earn promotion to the Kenyan Premier League.
On the best strikers, he has been against
Michael Olunga, Meddie Kagere, Jacques Tuyisenge and Dan Sserunkuma are certainly in that list.
On who he looks up to
My brother, always my brother (Peter Opiyo who is also his teammate). Because he advises me all the time and he pushes me a lot. When I make mistakes, he corrects me. And when I make the right decisions, he applauds me.
Personal targets as a keeper
To play for the National team-Harambee Stars. I believe in myself and I know I have all it takes to be there.
Keeper he looks up to
Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona) and Ederson (Manchester City).
On plans after football
I do not want to be a coach but plan to be a manager in a team, or in a business. Soon I will head to school to pursue what will help me manage people.