Bruce Kamau is ready for his new overseas venture with Greek Super League side OFI Crete, as he aims to make Graham Arnold’s 2022 World Cup squad in Qatar.
The former Wanderer has moved to Greece on a three-year deal with his stellar form throughout the 2020-21 A-League season being rewarded with a long-awaited European move.
In an interview with Kick360, Kamau confirmed that several clubs overseas were interested in his services.
He opted for Crete due to their vision and style of play.
“The football they play and everything about the club and speaking to people at the club fits in with me,” Kamau said.
“I think everything lined up in terms of that, and that’s why I ended up signing there.”
The 26-year-old has spoken to the club about where they see him fitting in with their plans but did not specify what particular role they see him having next season.
“I spoke with the club, and speaking with them, they gave me an indication of what their plans were for me and football-wise.
“Obviously, in football, there’s no guarantees anywhere, so it’s really just down to me and going over there and doing what I need to do in order to be able to play my football.”
Kamau showed what he was capable of in 2020-21, netting nine goals and picking up two assists in a Wanderers side that largely underwhelmed by finishing eighth.
The appointment of Carl Robinson along with more regular minutes in a preferred role up front helped facilitate Kamau’s upturn in form.
“Getting the opportunity to go overseas wouldn’t have happened without [me] being able to play the football that I was playing, and that came due to working under Carl.
“I was playing in a position where I’m more comfortable. The previous two years, I was playing as a wing-back which obviously isn’t where I’m comfortable and suited to play.
“Also working under a coach that has belief in you but [also] at the end of the day you have to go on the pitch and do it yourself, so it’s credit to both him and I think myself.”
Robinson wanted to keep Kamau for another year.
Yet, he and the club understood the attacker’s ambitions to go overseas and chase his dreams.
“Him [Robinson] and the whole club have been really supportive in me chasing that European dream and going overseas, and that’s credit to the people they are.”
Like all Australian football fans, Robinson will hope Kamau can have a lengthy and ultimately successful career overseas.
This dream is one Kamau is striving to turn into a reality to as well.
“It’s not just about a one-off move going overseas for me. I definitely want to have a long-term career playing football overseas.
“I think the culmination of everything has come at the right point and the right time for me.
“Football-wise, I’m confident in myself and my ability, and I think it’s the right time for that new challenge now.”
It’s often been debated in Australian football circles about our players making the switch overseas at the right time.
Kamau by extension has arguably waited longer than usual to integrate himself into the cut-throat environment of European football.
Still, he very much thinks it’s a case-by-case basis on the subject of A-League players moving overseas.
“I think it depends on each individual. Everyone’s different, everyone’s career path is different, so I wouldn’t say there’s a right age [to move overseas].”
Kamau hopes that the chance to play regular football overseas should put him at the forefront of the list of Socceroos candidates
“I think pushing for the Socceroos and really trying to make that World Cup squad is definitely one of my ambitions.
“I’m hoping that playing consistent football overseas in Europe will help me do that.”
Kamau is solely focused on his European ambitions but looked back with fondness over his time down under, plying his trade at Adelaide United and Melbourne City as well during his time down-under.
“It’s positive [when I reflect on my time in Australia]. I really can’t say anything negative about it. I’ve enjoyed my time playing in Australia across the three clubs that I’ve been at.”
He broke through at United, scoring in the 2016 Grand Final on route to the Reds maiden title.
In the eyes of many, his career somewhat stagnated with Melbourne City, failing to recapture the form he found at Adelaide.
Kamau believes it was only through a lack of end product that critics perceived his form differently, though.
“If you look at when I was at Melbourne City, just before I came to Wanderers, I had those kind of seasons [like 2020-21] maybe not so much in end product, but I still think that I was definitely able to showcase my ability there.”