“Hobles nipe! Hobles nipe! ,” shouts John Mwangi to his teammates in training whenever he wants the ball. In fact he always wants the ball and his appetite for goals is one to marvel at. Hobles, loosely translated to brother in Somali, is the name he uses to call his teammates and being the youngest in the team he is considered a brother to everybody in the team.
Born and bred in Huruma, Mwangi started his football career at the famous Drago grounds in 2007 under the tutelage of Joseph Jagero. Just like every other footballer from Eastlands, Mwangi spent his formative years playing competitive youth football in the MYSA junior leagues where he turned out for ASEC Huruma in Huruma zone.
His deadly left foot was key as ASEC Huruma emerged champions in the Under 12 category of the 2010 MYSA Championships. His exploits for the junior sides as ASEC Huruma saw him earn promotion to the senior team where he featured in the county and provincial leagues until December 2015 when Mathare United team manager William Muluya spotted him.
In fact he was spotted at the annual Eastlands Cup, an offseason tournament organized by Jagero, where he was the man of the match as Huruma Cranes whitewashed Muluya’s Indomitable Lions in the quarter finals.
Under 20 team
Muluya, who doubled up as the Mathare United Under 20 coach, then snapped him up for the April edition of Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Under 20 tournament in 2016. Despite the huge expectation surrounding his arrival, the spindly teenager could not cement a place in Muluya’s first eleven with his contribution being restricted to a substitute role.
Three months later, Mwangi proved his mettle with three goals and as many assists to his name as Mathare United improved on their third place finish in April to emerge champions in the August edition. His performance in the following edition certainly rubberstamped his potential and caught the eye of Mathare United head coach Francis Kimanzi.
A staggering four goals and an all-round performance as the lone striker in Yusuf Chippo’s side saw him guide our youngsters to a successful title defence. Promotion to the senior side was inevitable going by his brilliant displays and in January 2017 he finally got the nod from Kimanzi to start preseason training.
Having made his debut in the opening match against Thika United on Sunday 12 March as a second half substitute for Cliff Nyakeya, Mwangi followed it up with a similar appearance in Round 7 against Chemelil Sugar. Despite being largely unused in the first leg, Mwangi is a good prospect and is destined for a bright future at the club.