How four months at Gor Mahia has transformed Mark Shaban after his AFC Leopards snub

©Gor Mahia

How four months at Gor Mahia has transformed Mark Shaban after his AFC Leopards snub

Festus Chuma 05:37 - 20.05.2024

Mark Shaban discusses his move to Gor Mahia, his debut experiences, and future ambitions in professional football.

On the brink of his FKF Premier League debut, Mark Shaban has already carved a niche for himself at Gor Mahia just months after a much-publicized transfer saga.

 Initially tipped to join rivals AFC Leopards and even seen riding in Leopards' President Dan Shikanda’s car, Shaban’s last-minute switch to Gor Mahia came as a shock to many.

Shaban, who had been training with AFC Leopards, was suddenly unveiled by Gor Mahia four months ago in a move that sent ripples through Kenyan football. 

His unveiling was promptly followed by his participation in a training session captured and shared across the club’s social media platforms, confirming his commitment to  K'Ogalo.

The young forward made his debut in the FKF Cup during the 32nd round and has since been gearing up for his first appearance in the Premier League, with just three matches left this season. 

His transition has been supported by none other than Benson Omala, a key figure in Gor Mahia and a close friend of Shaban.

"Benson Omala is my best friend here, and he gives me tips and encouragement. When I grow up in the game, I wish to be like him," said Shaban as per KTN News. 

The mentorship from Omala seems to be a significant catalyst in Shaban’s quick adaptation and integration into the team's dynamics.

Aside from his aspirations within the local league, Shaban is already eyeing a future beyond Kenyan football. 

"I plan to move to another level, and I am working hard to make it to professional football outside of Europe," he added.

Reflecting on his early experiences at Gor Mahia, Shaban recounted, "I remember my debut in the FKF Cup, and it was a very good experience for me. I am looking forward to my Premier League debut."

Shaban's journey to Gor Mahia is not just a tale of unexpected turns but also a testament to his burgeoning career from his grassroots beginnings. 

A product of Kakamega High School’s Green Commandos FC, he emerged as the fourth-highest scorer in the 2022/2023 FKF Division 2 Zone B with nine goals.

At just 17, Shaban gained significant attention during the 2023 Kenya Secondary School Sports Association (KSSSA) games, where he captained Friends School Shanderema to the East Africa School Games in Huye, Rwanda. 

Shaban also participated in other tournaments such as the Elijah Lidonde Cup with National Super League side Mulembe United and the Cleo Malalah Super Cup with champions Lirhembe Arsenal.

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