Handwalla Bwana, the name on every Seattle sounders fan lips, taking the Major League Soccer by storm. A player they refer to as ‘their own’. Well this is a player who is a star in the United States but unknown by fans from his motherland Kenya.
Handwalla was born in June, 25, 1999 at Kakuma refugee camp located in the North western region of Kenya. It holds over 185,000 people with a junk of them coming from the civil war from South Sudan. In the 2010 Handwalla Bwana family was resettled to the United States, Atlanta but later moved to Seattle where he had the opportunity to attend Ballard High School.
At high school is where the youngster took up soccer seriously, the change of environment from playing from dusty playground at Kakuma to world-class facilities at the school motivated him to work harder in the field. He featured severally for the school team.
His talent on the pitch was recognized by MLS sides but it was Seattle Sounders who snapped him up in 2015 allowing him to join their Academy. He trained with the academy and played for University of Washington for two seasons where he made 26 of 39 appearances recording 12 goals and 13 assists in the process as well as being named the Pac_12 freshman of the years for his incredible stat during the 2016 season.
On January, 11, 2018 Handwalla Bwana signed his first professional contract with Seattle Sounders as a homegrown player. On signing the contract Bwana said “it’s an unbelievable moment, I never actually thought I’d be a pro from where I come from. I remember going to Sounders games for the first time, and it was incredible. The atmosphere was something I had never seen before. Being able to sign as a Homegrown, I can’t believe it.”
Handwalla is a guy who can put defenses off-balance,” said Sounders vice president of soccer & sporting director Chris Henderson in a statement released by the club. “He’s proven it at the University of Washington and with our academy.”
“He can score goals, he creates chances for himself, and he’s great at running at guys with the ball. Being able to bring another Homegrown through the system is exciting for the group. It’s a testament to our academy staff and what they’ve done with him at the University of Washington.” he added
Well, Bwana is a star in the making and soon the United States soccer team may seek his services however reports from the local football body, Football Kenya Federation indicating that the youngster is under the federation radar and may be called up in the next Harambee stars international assignment.
The federation’s secretary general, Robert Muthomi noted the federation is working on paperwork before he earns a call up for May and June assignments.
In the past Kenya has lost Kenyan born youngsters plying their trade abroad to other countries notably Wolfsburg’s Arnold Origi who chose Belgium, Melbourne city’s Bruce Kamau who chose Australia and Philip Mwene who turns out for FC Kaiserslautern in Germany appears to favor Austria over Kenya.
We can only hope that Kenyan die hard football fans will have a chance to see Handwalla Bwana wear the Harambee stars jersey.