After an illustrious 16 years of playing in top flight football, save for one season in the second tier in 2006, Kenyan striker John Baraza has called it a day.
The diminutive, deceptive and witty striker, ignored by a many defender only to regret later, hang his boots on 13 January 2016 to take up full time role as assistant coach at Sofapaka, the club he turned out for since mid 2009.
“I think I have done well in my years as a player and there is always that point when you have to step out and help someone else come up. This, I believe is the right time and I have no regrets over my time as a player,” he was quoted by Soka.
Baraza turned out for Oserian from 2000 till 2002 after joining from lower tier side Gilgil Telecom. He then moved to Chemelil Sugar for the next two seasons before venturing across borders to turn out to IF Sylvia in Sweden.
He returned to Chemelil after a season before landing at Tanzanian giants Young Africans (Yanga) with whom he bagged the league titles in two consecutive years.
A trip to the second tier in Malaysia’s money bags PDRM the next season, a club he helped get promoted to the 2007-08 Super League. The next season he was at Rwanda’s Rayon Sports where he ended his trips abroad.
A return to Chemelil Sugar in the local league in 2007, then to a crossover to Sofapaka in mid 2009 where he stayed till the close of 2015 ended his league adventure.
League goals/Golden boot
In his first top flight season in 2000 he registered nine goals for Twahir Muhidin’s Oserian Fastac. The next season he scored 14 times league his side to their first league title.
He improved in 2002 tallying up a record 22 goals to claim the golden boot award as his side retained the league title.
It was to be the first of four golden boot awards as, in 2009 he carried forward seven league goals to Sofapaka and added another eight to close the season with 15 goals.
He scored a similar number the next season to retain the top scorer’s award and added a fourth one in 2012 when he notched up18 goals.
In 2009, Baraza’s on the field dependability sent league debutant Sofapaka to the league title in just the first time of asking for the club coached by Robert Matano.
In a gala held at the close of that season, Baraza was named the best of the best taking home the (Guinness) Player of the Year Award to accompany his top scorer’s award.
In 2015 he was named the Fair play Player of the Year.
In 2002, while at Chemelil, Baraza was called up to the National team by German coach Reinhardt Fabisch.
On 4 May 2002, he made his national debut as Kenya took on Nigeria at the Surulele Stadium, Lagos, a game Kenya went on to lose 3-0.
Other than Baraza, those who grabbed their debuts for the national team included Dennis strikers Oliech and Bernard Mwalala as well as defenders Charles Handas and Hillary Omondi.
He went on to feature in 52 National team games, the last being a game at the Nyayo National Stadium against Sudan – an LG Cup clash that Kenya, coached by Zedekiah Otieno went on to lose 2-1.
During his career, Baraza’s boot was active, netting a record 128 goals in the Kenyan league across 12 seasons.
On the National scale, Baraza notched in 23 goals that make him Kenya’s seventh finest scorer after William Chege Ouma, Oliech, Elijah Lidonde, Ali Kajo, Joe Kadenge and Livingstone Madegwa.
One of his goals was scored at the continents biggest platform – the Africa Cup of Nations in 2004 where he scored a class act as Kenya tore Burkina Faso 3-0 in their final pool game.
John Baraza club Stats
- 3 League titles – Kenya; Oserian - 2001, 2002, Sofapaka - 2009,
- 2 League titles -Tanzania; Young Africans - 2005, 2006
- 2 Domestic Cups; Sofapaka – 2010, 2011 (FKF Cup)
- 4 Golden Boot awards; Oserian - 2002 (22 goals), Sofapaka -2009 (15), 2010 (15), 2012 (18)
-2009 Guinness Player of the year Award,
-2009 Kenyan Premier League Player of the Year,
- 2015 Fair Play Player of the Year
National team stats
Caps; 52 games, 23 goals
First National game; May 2002, 3-0 loss to Nigeria in Surulele Stadium, Lagos. Capped by Reinhardt Fabisch alongside Dennis Oliech, Bernard Mwalala, Charles Handas and Hillary Omondi
Last National game; June 2011 - LG cup game against Sudan at Nyayo under Coach Zedekiah Zico Otieno
- 2002 Castle Cup
- 2002 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup
League goals scored
2000 - Oserian - 9
2001 - Oserian -14
2002 - Oserian - 22
2002/3 - Chemelil – 5
2004/5 – Chemelil - 1
2009 - Sofapaka - 15
2010 - Sofapaka - 15
2011 - Sofapaka - 5
2012 - Sofapaka - 18
2013 - Sofapaka - 8
2014 - Sofapaka - 7
2015 - Sofapaka - 9
|2017-04-18 16:00:00||Kenya||0 - 0||Malawi|
|2017-03-26 15:00:00||Kenya||2 - 1||DR Congo|
|2017-03-23 03:00:00||Kenya||1 - 1||Uganda|
|2017-02-12 17:00:00||Senegal U20||4 - 0||Kenya U20|
|2017-02-10 20:30:00||Senegal U20||2 - 0||Kenya U20|
|2016-11-26 21:00:00||Nigeria (W)||4 - 0||Kenya (W)|
|2016-11-26 17:00:00||South Africa U20||3 - 1||Kenya U20|
|2016-11-23 21:00:00||Kenya (W)||1 - 3||Mali (W)|
|2016-11-20 21:00:00||Kenya (W)||1 - 3||Ghana (W)|
|2016-11-15 16:00:00||Kenya||1 - 0||Liberia|
|2016-11-12 16:00:00||Kenya||1 - 0||Mozambique|
|2016-11-06 18:00:00||Cameroon (W)||2 - 1||Kenya (W)|
|2016-10-28 14:30:00||Kenya (W)||1 - 0||Egypt (W)|
|2016-10-22 16:00:00||Kenya (W)||0 - 1||Cameroon (W)|
|2016-10-04 20:30:00||DR Congo||0 - 1||Kenya|