Joash Onyango's outstanding year for both club and country did not go unnoticed as he was awarded the SJAK MVP Award on Monday. I caught up with the Gor Mahia defender for a brief interview
After having a crammed up fixture list, how would you describe last season?
Last season was tight because the league was congested then there was the Confederations Cup and the Shield Cup so it meant that I played a lot of games in a short time and maintaining the performance I think was what made me win the MVP award.
You picked up an injury a day to the African Cup of Nations opener against Algeria, how much of a disappointment was that?
I felt so bad, I even cried because it was my dream to play in the AFCON because it would have been my first time to play in the tournament and we really struggled to earn qualification. I was so disappointed but all in all, those are things beyond my control.
You were subject to age trolls before AFCON, how did that go down with you?
I cannot be shaken by that because you can't always listen to the fans, if you listen to them it will affect your performance, you just have to let it go and focus on your game.
You dyed your beard blonde just before AFCON, was that a way to get back at your critics?
Everyone has their own personality, it just how one can decide on putting dreadlocks so I just decided to blonde my beard.
Was the AFCON disappointment the reason for your impressive performance against Tanzania in the CHAN Qualifiers?
I was motivated by qualifying for AFCON so I also wanted to represent Kenya in the CHAN tournament.
You were recently named the Gor Mahia vice-captain, how does that make you feel?
It's a motivation, the coach had faith in me from the beginning and now I'm the vice-captain, so I have to be a leader which means I have to work extra hard so that my teammates can emulate me.
New Gor Mahia head coach Steven Polack identified your talent after watching you only once, how did you feel about that?
I'm grateful because he was new in the team and he came and identified me as one the key players in the club.
A few weeks into Polack's reign at Gor Mahia, how is it working under him?
I feel good and I'm happy because I have already played two games under him, one away in Burundi, he was good in terms of his tactics and talked to us on the way we can play as a team.
How is the team responding to his tactics?
We always have practice so we just have to do our best and play under his instructions, there those, of course, that will not fit his philosophy but he has many players to choose from so everyone will eventually adapt.
Francis Kimanzi was recently installed as the new Harambee Stars head coach, what's your take on the move?
I'm happy because he is a local coach, he has always seen us day in day out and I'm also delighted because it will give him an easy job to identify players because he has been in the country.
What was your relationship with Sebastien Migne? he always lauded you after every game you played
I thank and I respect him because he is one of the few foreign coaches who came and watched a few of my games, called me and gave me a friendly against Equatorial Guinea and I had a good outing and after that, he has always believed in me.
What are your season expectations ahead of the 2019-2020 campaign?
This season I want also want to win the MVP award and be consistent in my performances.