Japanese signing Yuto Kusaba was made to wait to make his debut for Simba wa Nairobi.
Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) side Nairobi City Stars sent shockwaves through the football community with their recent signing of Japanese talent Yuto Kusaba on a season-long deal.
The unexpected acquisition was met with anticipation as fans eagerly awaited the debut of the attacker, known by the moniker "Mitoma," drawing comparisons to Brighton & Hove Albion star forward.
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Yuto Kusaba's arrival was a glimmer of hope for the Simba wa Nairobi’s supporters, who flocked to the Kasarani Annex in droves for the opening match of the league opener against Muhoroni Youth on Sunday.
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However, as the crowd held their breath for Kusaba's electrifying debut, it was revealed that he was conspicuously absent from the matchday lineup.
A source within the club, speaking on the condition of anonymity to Pulse Sports, shed light on the reason behind Kusaba's absence from the starting lineup.
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"Kusaba was officially listed with the Japanese Football Association, which meant that any transfer had to follow the guidelines of the Transfer Matching System," the source explained. "Regrettably, we are still waiting for his papers to be processed."
Hours before the much-anticipated match against Muhoroni Youth, Kusaba, undeterred by the unexpected delay, took to social media with a message of resilience.
In a tweet posted in Japanese, he shared his perspective on the challenges he was facing.
"What I realised when I came to Kenya is that perfection will never come. So, while aiming for a better state, you have to be able to function even in an imperfect state. Dreams and goals don't wait for me to become better,” he wrote.
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Kusaba's positive outlook resonated with fans who were disappointed by his absence on the field. The forward's journey from Zenshin FC (Northern Zone), a FKF Division Two side, where he scored an impressive eight goals in 11 matches over four months, caught the eye of City Stars' scouts, leading to his current opportunity.
Despite Kusaba's absence, the match against Muhoroni Youth unfolded in a thrilling manner.
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Both teams displayed commendable skills and tactics, resulting in a goalless draw. City Stars had an opportunity to secure victory, but Kelvin Etemisi's missed penalty in the closing stages denied them the three points.