Former Kenya international and AFC Leopards forward Mike Baraza has come out of “retirement” to sign for Western Stima.
The proved goal poacher has been out of competitive football for close to two years having last featured for Ingwe in the 2013 season.
According to Baraza he had been working in Doha, Qatar, and his absence from the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) was a “mini retirement” of sorts. He added that he had agreed to join Stima so as to get in touch with “the basics of the game” as he prepares to take on a football managerial role in future.
“I have been out of local football for a while now, so am not here to prove anything for any one because I proved my self long time ago” Baraza explained to the press.
“Am here for only six months and after am planning to take on coaching duties” he added.
According to Stima chairman Laban Jobita, the decision to sign the 36-year-old was arrived at by the technical bench who felt that he was the answer to their blunt strike force.
“Baraza was among the many players who turned up for our trials earlier in the month and the bench was impressed with his performance”Laban Jobia explained
“We know that he has not played for a while now, but the coach and his assistants have assured me that he will be of substantial help to the striking force which has lacked punch this season,” he added.
Mike Baraza becomes the fourth player to join Stima this transfer period that has already seen Maurice Ojwang promoted from their under 19 side and Ugandan Ivan Sekazza secured from Qatar’s Aspire Academy.
Stima are placed fifth on the league table with 23 points and Jobita is hoping that the new signings will settle fast enough as they try to challenge for a podium finish.
“Winning the title is a long shot for us as a club because we do not invest in players the way the title contenders do, but we have set our ambitions and we will see how the second leg does,” he said.
Baraza began his club football career with AFC Leopards in 2001, before moving to Nzoia Sugar the following year and then Ulinzi Stars in 2003.
In 2006, he moved to Malaysia to play for PDRM FA and travelled to Tanzania the following year to play for FC Simba. He then moved to Azam FC in 2008 and then rejoined Ulinzi Stars in 2010.
Baraza joined AFC Leopards in July 2011, where he was named the club’s Player of the Year in 2012 after leading his club with nine goals during the 2012 Kenya Premier League season and he retired at the end of the 2013 Season.
On his International career Baraza made several appearances for the Kenya national football Team and participated in 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. He was also a part of the squad that finished second in the 2012 CECAFA Cup, playing the full 90 minutes as his nation fell to a 2–1 to hosts Uganda in the finals.