Up close with Sofapaka's Antony Muki Keymani
Up close with Sofapaka's Antony Muki Keymani
He is described as one of the best ball players and creative midfielders to have graced the Kenyan Premier League. Most people call him Kimani but his official name is Keymani (also his official Jersey name) and he is nicknamed "Muki". Voted as the best midfielder during 2010 KPL Footballer of the year awards, Antony has been a "Key Man" in all the clubs he has featured for. His ambition rockets above Kenyan scene and soon, he will definitely be gracing one of the top leagues in Europe.
Date of Birth: 20th October 1992
Current club: Sofapaka FC
Previous clubs: Dagoretti Santos, Nairobi City Stars.
Keymani grew up in Nairobi’s Riruta satellite estate with his parents and siblings James Thairu and Esther Waringa. For his primary education he attended Ndurarwa primary school before joining Milimani Secondary school for his High school certificate. Having grown up in the harsh living conditions in Riruta, Keymani perceives soccer as a great opportunity to uplift the living standards of his family. His family is laden with talent as his elder brother James Thairu is also a footballer in the Kenyan premier league playing for Nairobi City Stars.
Like many successful footballers across the world, Keymani started playing soccer at a very tender age of six where he used to play the estate soccer using the famous paper ball locally known as "Juala" (made from polythene bags). His first top class soccer was when in high school at the Milimani secondary where he helped his team advance to the provincial finals, a feat considering the high level of competition in Secondary school football competitions. It was while at high school that his talent was scouted and he joined Dagoretti Santos which is now sponsored by Auxerre and Kenya's top strike striker Dennis Oliech.
At 17 years, Keymani later moved up the ranks by joining Kenyan Premier League side World hope (currently Nairobi City stars) in 2009 but only played for half a season before he was poached by one of the richest clubs in Kenya Sofapaka FC.
In 2009, Sofapaka was the best club in Kenya having won the league in their first attempt and had some of the finest and experienced stars At 17 years, Keymani felt he was not mature enough to compete with the more seasoned players at the peak of their careers in getting a starting lineup position. He opted to move back to his Kawangware based side Nairobi City Stars for the remainder of the 2009 season where he was assured of regular football
However, his skills and ball dribbling prowess had impressed the Sofapaka technical bench who went for his signature immediately after the end of the 2009 season. He rejoined Sofapaka in 2010 and this time he got a starting position in 28 league matches out of the total 30 matches played missing out only two matches due to accumulated yellow cards. In his first full season appearance at Sofapaka Keymani's performance was outstanding and this earned him unanimous votes to become Kenya’s best midfielder in 2010.
Keymani received his first call up to the national team in 2010 to play against Tanzania in Daresalaam in a FIFA friendly day match where he also earned his first cap coming in as substitute for Kevin Omondi in the second half.He vividly remember that match when he played alongside the best in Kenya in a squad that featured Inter Milan's MacDonald Mariga and Auxerre's Dennis Oliech
Having proven his pedigree to the national technical bench, Keymani also got another cap when he played in Kenya’s first 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifying match against Guinea Bissau away in Bissau. His midfield role was very inspirational against Tanzania during the 2010 CECAFA Senior Challenge even though Kenya was eliminated in the first round of the championship.
Keymani was also in the Kenyan squad that played South Africa’s Bafana Bafana during the FIFA friendly day early February 2011 a match where Kenya lost 0-2 to South Africa.
Keyman is so far happy with the standards in the Kenyan Premier League and especially the SuperSport partnership that has given the players great exposure. He however nurtures a dream of featuring in one of the top European leagues soon.
“Life at Sofapaka is good and all the players are very happy here. I look forward to improving my skills and career more so that I can manage to export my profession to Europe where I aspire to turn out for some of the best clubs in the world. I believe am good enough to play in any league in the world.” He said.
For Keymani, the dream has just started. With positive responses from top clubs in Europe, His agents are working day and night to ensure he pens a mega deal soon.
At MichezoAfrika.com, we wish Keymani all the best in his soccer career.