Dar striker dreams of winning Ballon d’Or

21Oct 2019
Michael Mwebe
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Dar striker dreams of winning Ballon d’Or

TANZANIAN youngster, Kelvin John, has got his sights set on winning the World Player of the Year ‘Ballon d’Or’ award in future.

Kelvin John

The 16-year-old striker’s rapid rise in the Tanzania football has certainly won him his fair share of suitors and Belgium’s KRC Genk appear to have won the race to sign him at the moment.

 

He emerged as top scorer and was also crowned Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the 2019 CECAFA U-20 Challenge Cup final held in Uganda two weeks ago.

He scored seven goals in six matches in the CECAFA U-20 Championship taking his national junior team goal tally to 21 and he is now part of the senior national soccer team ‘Taifa Stars’ set-up.

In an interview with TFF TV, John, who has been likened to French sensational youngster, Kylian Mbappe said he wants to emulate the PSG striker.

“I appreciate being nicknamed Mbappe, I haven’t reached his level of success but I want to emulate him and go further than what he has achieved,’’ John disclosed.

Far from shying away from his dream of winning the Ballon d'Or and even before his career can be said to have really taken a proper flight, Kelvin has admitted he is hopeful of winning the coveted award handed out to the World’s best player every year.

“On a personal level, one of the things that bothers me most is winning the Ballon d’Or. I am hopeful of winning it in the future. I believe I have the will, ability and everything else that is needed,’’ he noted.

The CECAFA U-17 qualifying tournament for the AFCON U-17 tournament, which was held in Dar es Salaam from August 11–26 last year, saw Kelvin burst into the wider public consciousness emerging as the second-highest scorer with six goals and he was also crowned the tournament’s most valuable player.

He became the poster boy of national U-17 team ‘Serengeti Boys’ squad that featured at the 2019 U-17 Africa Cup of Nations hosted in Dar es Salaam in April. Though Tanzania exited in the group stage and John only managed a single goal, his movement, pace and ball control attracted the attention of the then Taifa Stars head coach, Emmanuel Amunike, who summoned him in the provisional squad for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Though still playing for junior national teams, Taifa Stars interim head coach Etienne Ndayiragije included him in his first squad for 2020 CHAN tournament qualifiers.

With Taifa Stars searching for an elusive goal, he earned his senior cap by coming on as a second half substitute in a CHAN qualifier match against Kenya.

At only 16 years and two months, he became the youngest player to ever feature for Taifa Stars.

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