Zak Vyner Onyego: The dual heritage Bristol City defender now set to spot Harambee Stars' colors


Zak Vyner Onyego: The dual heritage Bristol City defender now set to spot Harambee Stars' colors

Festus Chuma 05:32 - 27.05.2024

Who is Zak Vyner Onyego? A Bristol City defender switching nationalities to represent Kenya in the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Recently, Harambee Stars coach Engin Firat hinted at bolstering his squad with an additional, yet undisclosed player as Kenya prepares to face formidable opponents in the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in Malawi this June. 

The team is gearing up to challenge Burundi and Ivory Coast, and the inclusion of new talents is a strategic move by Firat to strengthen his arsenal.

Among the speculated additions is Bristol City’s central defender Zak Vyner, who has reportedly accepted a call-up to represent Kenya, his mother's homeland.

 This decision marks a significant turn in his career, as he chooses to don the Harambee Stars jersey amidst his ongoing success in England.

Born in Peckham, London, and raised in Bath, Vyner's passion for football was ignited early on by his family’s athletic inclinations and by watching his older brother play. 

With a Kenyan mother and an English father, his diverse heritage further fueled his love for the sport.

Vyner journey through the ranks began at a tender age with Bath Arsenal before he moved to Bristol City's academy at ten years old, initially playing as a winger.

His transition to a central defender proved pivotal as he debuted professionally at 19 during a match where Bristol City triumphed over MK Dons in the Sky Bet Championship. 

His early career also included loan spells at Accrington Stanley, Rotherham United, and Aberdeen, where he accumulated valuable playing time and experience across different leagues and competitive environments.

The 2020/21 season was particularly groundbreaking for Vyner at Bristol City. 

He emerged as a mainstay in the team's defense, appearing in 49 matches across all competitions and scoring his first goals for the club. 

His performance has been consistently strong, evidenced by his regular appearances in the current season and earning accolades such as the Thatcher’s Cider Pick of the Match.

Hinting at his decision to play for Kenya, Firat expressed enthusiasm about new players' potential contribution to the team.

“We have a lot of players outside who have potential, which is why I convinced them to play for our team,” Firat explained.

Vyner's inclusion is part of a broader trend of Firat bringing in international talents with Kenyan roots, such as Norway-based Alfred Scriven, Viborg’s Anyembe, and Orlando City’s Nabi Kibunguchy. 

These players are seen as crucial to revitalizing the Harambee Stars' squad as they aim for a strong showing in the qualifiers.

The response within Kenya to Vyner’s inclusion has been positive, with fans and officials alike anticipating the skills and international experience he brings. 

His ability to adapt and his proven track record in competitive football are expected to be invaluable as Kenya seeks to navigate through the challenges of the upcoming qualifiers.

As the team prepares for the matches in Malawi, all eyes will be on Vyner and his new teammates to see how this blend of local and diaspora talent will perform on the international stage. 

With the support of experienced players like Vyner the Harambee Stars are more equipped than ever to make a significant impact in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Follow us on X (Twitter) for more updates