Kenya international Joseph Okumu has chased enough Kylian Mbappe-shaped shadows

Published on: 05 March 2024
Kenya international Joseph Okumu has chased enough Kylian Mbappe-shaped shadows
Kenya international Joseph Okumu has chased enough Kylian Mbappe-shaped shadows


When pursuing a career in professional sport, the ultimate ambition is to compete with the very best in the business.

Occasionally, though, one outing against performers that fill that talent bracket can be more than enough.

In the case of Joseph Okumu, he will have started out clinging to the hope that he would one day grace the same field as World Cup winners.

After completing a transfer to Ligue 1 side Reims in 2023, that dream became a reality.


He is now turning out on the same domestic stage as Kylian Mbappe, with the Paris Saint-Germain superstar having captured a global crown with France back in 2018.

Mbappe also made the World Cup final in 2022, netting a hat-trick in FIFA’s showpiece event before suffering a penalty shootout heartache against Lionel Messi and Argentina.

If Okumu had arrived in France a few months earlier, he would also have crossed paths with all-time great Messi – but the legendary South American is now plying his trade in MLS at Inter Miami.

Mbappe is still very much around, but for how much longer that remains the case is yet to be determined.

The expectation is that Okumu will not be lining up against PSG’s all-time leading goalscorer next season, which may allow, the betting experts for Kenyan players, to shorten odds when it comes to Reims’ clashes with heavyweights from the French capital.

Mbappe appears destined to become another 'Galactico' at Real Madrid, as reported by, with a fresh start in Spain ready to be embraced.

Okumu may be among those who are happy to see the back of the jet-heeled frontman.

While the goal was always to face such opposition, he has already had his fill when it comes to chasing Mbappe-shaped shadows.

The France international registered a stunning hat-trick, covered by, against Reims in November 2023 - with Okumu among those to be left waving a white flag of sporting surrender.

Having witnessed Mbappe at the peak of his powers, avoiding a repeat of that unfortunate situation would be preferable.

Okumu will feel that he is better placed to handle such demands having faced the ultimate test, but will not be in any rush for a rematch either.

Sometimes, one and out really is the best approach.

An untimely injury will likely prevent Okumu from locking horns with Mbappe for a second time, meaning that he may never race after that fabled No.7 jersey again.

That could be considered a good thing, although there is no telling what the future might bring – maybe Okumu will end up in La Liga himself at some stage, or Mbappe will beat a hasty retreat to his homeland.


For now, Okumu will have to make do with the images stored in his memory bank.

Not all of those are happy, with Mbappe walking off with the match ball following a duel between proven striker and promising defender, but such a tale will stand the test of time.

Nobody can take Okumu’s achievements away from him, even if the dream of facing the very best ended up turning slightly nightmarish across 90 energy-sapping minutes.