He joins a growing list of Kenya footballers who have made the bold step to try seek greener pastures outside Kenya. A promising midfielder who has been one of the hottest properties in the local scene.
Although he hasn't played for one of the biggest Kenyan clubs, his impact in the game has been massive; a fleet footed game changer with an eye for goal. After a largely successful season at Mathare United, where he was named the midfielder of the season, he attracted massive interest from other clubs, but never signed for any other local side and instead chose to go to Europe.
He currently plies his trade in Sweden, and has a message for the fans. Kenyanstar recently caught up with sensational midfielder Eric Kubasu Johanna and here is his story.
Kenyanstar: Thank you for making time Eric. Kindly tell us about your football journey.
Eric Johanna: Like many young boys in Kenya, I started playing with the paper-sewn ball years ago. I would follow my elder brother whenever he went out to play and this whet my appetite for the game. I joined Dandora FC, Eastleigh Youth and later coach William Muluya spotted me and gave me a chance at Mathare United where I played till the close of 2016.
KS: It is at Mathare United that Kenyans discovered this name - Eric Johanna. What worked for you in Mathare?
EJ: What helped me grow was my understanding with the coach, Stanley Okumbi and the rest of the technical bench. The environment at MYSA was also good as it gives you a chance to learn and grow.
KS: .You beat stiff challenge, among them Khalid Aucho to be crowned surprise midfielder of the season in 2015. Kindly take us through this point in your career.
EJ: I was not surprised when I won that award. I had had a great season and was confident of my abilities. I was in the same league, maybe better than those players who I was nominated with, and so I deserved to win. However, different people have different opinion on who deserved to win.
KS: You had another great season last year at Mathare and formed some great partnership with Whyvonne Isuza. Kindly tell us about your partnership and how important it was for your career.
EJ: The three years we had with Isuza was a great time. However, it all wasn't about Isuza. There was terrific team spirit and we fought and worked hard for each other and for the team. Our coaches instilled a great mentality in us, one of self belief. We were determined to take our game to the next level.
KS: Harambee stars - You have had some great displays for the national team. Great goals. Super play..kindly tell us about your time so far at the national team. Also tell us what new things you are doing at Stars.
EJ: Bob Williamson believed in me and gave me the chance at the national team. The introduction he gave me to the national team was very good. Personally, I didn't have any hurry to play. The call up to the national team was important.While in camp, I learn from the best and is always patient.
KS:. How important is coach Stanley Okumbi to your career?
EJ: Coach Okumbi is more than just a coach to me. He is a father figure and an elder brother to me.
KS: In the last transfer window, you seemed to have lots of options. You talked to Gor..AFC but no deal was signed. Kindly tell us about your movement between these 2 clubs and why you never signed for either.
EJ: I had options at both Gor Mahia and Leopards. When AFC Leopards approached me, we asked for Ksh.1.7 million. They promised to return with a counter offer, but I never heard from them again. Then Gor happened. I personally love Gor Mahia. Unfortunately, before I could sign, I got the chance to go to Sweden and couldn't turn that down.
KS: Critics say you rushed to play in Sweden. Do you think you left Kenya a little too early?
EJ: I got the opportunity which is good for my career growth, and do not think it was early. Critics are always there. Let us wait for three years and see what the critics have to say.
KS: Kindly tell us about your time in Sweden and how your new club is like…
EJ: I joined a Division 1 club that is called Vasalunds IF. I joined a little late due to complications with my work permit. I however have had really rigorous sessions with the fitness trainer, like thrice a day just to ensure I am in the perfect shape.
KS: We have seen a couple of players return to Kenya months after signing abroad. Does this worry you?
EJ: Everyone has their own destiny, and I believe my story is different from that of any other player.
KS: Tactically, what works for you..
EJ: I ensure that I keep everything as simple as possible.
KS: You have quite a famous football family. How important are they to your career and does this give you pressure?
EJ: It’s a really good thing and it's important as it helps keep you on toes too. However, there is no pressure whatsoever from my family or myself.
KS: Where are we likely to see you in the next few years?
EJ: I can't speak of any specific destination, but I will certainly do my best and see what happens.
KS: Any closing words?
EJ: I am happy for the love and support so far from all those who have supported me. For those who don't, I hope one day you will, because you will have no choice.