Timothy Noor Ouma: Why Nairobi City Stars wonderkid is yet to light up Swedish league

STARS ABROAD Timothy Noor Ouma: Why Nairobi City Stars wonderkid is yet to light up Swedish league

Joel Omotto 09:16 - 25.05.2023

The 18-year-old joined IF Elfsborg with a big reputation after a 15-goal involvement for City Stars.

Timothy Noor Ouma’s stint in the Swedish league has not gone entirely to plan having joined top flight side IF Elfsborg from Nairobi City Stars last August.

Ouma left City Stars with a big reputation after scoring seven goals while providing eight assists for Simba wa Nairobi in the 2021-22 Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) season.

Why has Timothy Noor Ouma not lit up the Swedish league?

While he was seen as one for the future, the form of the 18-year-old for City Stars suggested he would hit the ground running in Sweden. However, it has been anything but, the Kenyan attacking midfielder featuring just three times, all as a substitute, for Elfsborg since joining.

Ouma signed a four-year contract with the six-time Swedish champions, joining at a time when the season was entering its home stretch. Unlike other major leagues in Europe, the Swedish Allsvenskan starts in March and ends in November, meaning the Kenyan joined at a crucial point of the season.

Substitute appearances

Timothy Noor Ouma in a past match for Elfsborg.
©Elfsborg Twitter.

His late arrival might have informed coach Jimmy Thelin’s decision not to throw him into the deep end straight away and he had to wait until October 31 when he came off the bench as Elfsborg beat Helsingborg 3-0. That was after he made the bench for the 2-0 win over GIF Sundsvall on September 11.

However, with a full pre-season under his belt and having taken time to gel with his new teammates, it was expected that Ouma would be among the starters for Thelin’s side but that has not happened yet.

Since Elfsborg’s first game of the 2023 season on April 4, which they lost 2-0 to Hacken, Ouma had to wait until matchday six against Mjallby where he made the bench but was not involved entirely, a scenario that would be witnessed in the following match against Halmstad, when he did not get a looking, as his side romped to a 6-1 win.

He would turn out for the first time this season on May 8, when he came off the bench in Elfsborg’s 4-0 thrashing of Sirius on matchday seven before another substitute appearance on May 14 against Varnamo when his side claimed a 2-0 victory.

Club taking its time

Ouma was back on the bench last weekend when Elfsborg won 2-1 away to Norrkoping and he will be hoping to get some minutes in their next match on Saturday when they take on giants Malmo.

Babu, as he is popularly known, had expressed his desire to hit the ground running when he joined the club but it appears he will have to be a little patient.

“I am good at holding, controlling and distributing the ball. My personal goal is to take a place in the starting eleven as quickly as possible,” he said after joining.

However, the words of the club’s manager Stefan Andreasson should have perhaps served as a warning of what to expect, as it appears the club are keen to take their time with the teenager before he can be trusted with an extended spell in the side.

“Timothy is a player that we have followed for a long time and that we are now very happy to welcome to IF Elfsborg,” Andreasson said upon signing Ouma.

Some silver lining

“After a good dialogue with Nairobi Stars and a strong desire from Timothy to come to IF Elfsborg, Timothy is now being bought off from Nairobi Stars and has signed a contract valid until the 2026 season. Now we look forward to continuing to develop him as a player and person.”

He was indeed utilised more in the Under-21 side last year before being brought into the senior team this term.

The player should, however, be encouraged by the fact that he is getting involved in some capacity this season and with Elfsborg starting the season well, he has an opportunity to stamp his authority if he impresses in the few minutes he is getting off the bench.

Elfsborg have lost just once, the opening game, winning eight, including the last seven in a row, while drawing one, to stay second on the 16-team table on 22 points, three behind leaders Malmo who they face next.