“I previously tried to make myself happy by pursuing money and going to all kinds of parties but at the end of the day I was still very empty.”
- What is your history in football before moving to South Africa (SA) and how did you end up playing for Santos?
I have loved football ever since I was a young boy and decided to pursue it professionally. I played for AFC Leopards and Tusker FC in Kenya. Then in 1997, with the help of some friends I made the move to SA and was very fortunate to get an opportunity at Santos where I have been on and off until today.
- What do you consider to be your biggest achievements as a footballer?
Well, I was very happy to receive an award from the chairman of the Premier Soccer League for having played in the league for 13 years. It was a very touching moment because I felt that they recognised my dedication to the sport and playing in South Africa. I was also very proud to captain Kenya in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2004. Although Kenya did not do particularly well, I was happy to be a part of the team that played in that tournament because as you know we have not made it to the competition regularly. So that was a privilege.
- You have spent many years in Santos. How would you summarise your experience there?
Santos Football Club has been the main home of my soccer career. I have been here so long I am now considered a senior player and mentor in the team. I am now 37 and was captain of the club for a number of years. I have made over 370 appearances for the club and scored over 30 goals which may not seem like much but as a defender so the chance to score goals doesn’t come by very often. I also helped the team win a number of cups including winning the PSL in the 2001/2002 season as well as the Bob Save Super Bowl in 2003.
- You spent some time as a soccer player in the USA, tell us about your experiences there.
Yes this was in 2008. I got a loan deal to play in League 2 in the USA. What struck me most was the difference in culture from what I was used to here in South Africa or in my homeland Kenya. I was very excited to have been given this opportunity because it was always my dream to play some football in the West. My first appearance for the team was as a substitute in one of the games and I went on to make seven appearances for the Cleveland side and scored four goals. By the grace of God, we won the league and I returned to Santos at the end of the season.
- What are you passionate about?
I am a committed family man and love my wife Joan and my two kids; Michelle who is 13 and Desailly who is 11. Having been introduced to Christ by a friend Mike Aiford about seven years ago, I am now a born again Christian. I previously tried to make myself happy by pursuing money and going to all kinds of parties but at the end of the day I was still very empty. The day I put my trust in Jesus to forgive my sins I received great joy and purpose which I have until today.
- Now that you are approaching retirement, what are your plans?
I still have plans to be involved with Santos, as I said, this club means a lot to me. Other than that I have also established the Musa Otieno Foundation which I intend to use to assist young boys and girls with training not only in football but also in other matters intended to nurture them. For me, this is very important because I would like to give something back to the community as well as the sport, both of which have been the pivot of my life so far. I am also presently the interim vice-chairperson for a new organisation we are launching here in Cape Town called W3C - Wananchi Wa Western Cape - which aims to bring together Kenyans in the area and make us more unified. Other than that, I have launched Tembea.biz which is an entity that organises tours and travels particularly for the many East Africans who come to holiday in the Western Cape Area.