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RAISING THE BAR: Tusker's Were on the verge of setting a new Golden Boot record

FOOTBALL By Gilbert Wandera | July 28th 2015
Tusker players Jesse Were, Ronald Mbana and Humphrey Mieno walk to changing room after full time KPL Match at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on Saturday, July 18, 2015. PHOTO/ JONAH ONYANGO.

There are many unique things about the 2015 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season. Key among them is that Jesse Were may set a new golden boot record.

The Tusker forward netted his third hattrick in a row on Friday, becoming the first player in the local league to do that.

With it, he sent his tally of goals to 19 and with ten matches to go, there is no reason why Were cannot score more than the 25 goals that former Tusker forward Boniface Ambani, who still holds the record for the highest scorer in the KPL, scored in 2005.

Another unique thing about the 2015 season is that it has given a number of hitherto forgotten players an opportunity to shine and rebuild their careers. Three players Noah Abich, Wycliffe Ochomo and Paul Kiongera clearly come to mind.

Abich has been a major inspiration since joining Mathare United last season with the club giving him an opportunity to rebuild his tethering career.

His experience has done well to shore up the slum boys. Not only has Abich’s presence at the back been a major motivation for his side, but he has in the last one year also built a reputation as a free kick and penalty specialist from which he rarely misses.

 

ENDING CAREER

Abich joined United at a time his career was almost coming to an end. His KPL journey started at Sony Sugar before he moved to Tusker.

From Ruaraka, Abich linked up with AFC Leopards but did not stay long and was on the verge of ending his career before United came calling. Four years ago, Ochomo was virtually unknown on the local scene, but was thrust in the limelight when he joined Gor Mahia after a season at relegated Congo United.

His stay at Gor was, however, a short one as he moved to Ulinzi Stars where he did not last as well. Ochomo then opted to play for lower league side Police who, in June, released him to join Muhoroni Youth.

 

CRUCIAL GOAL

His return to top flight football was marked by a crucial goal against his former club when Muhoroni Youth upset Ulinzi 2-1 ending a three match winning streak by the soldiers at the weekend.

There is also Paul Kiongera whose return to KCB has been marked by crucial goals. He scored twice when the bankers drew 2-2 against Mathare United on Sunday.

Kiongera is on loan at KCB from Tanzanian giants Simba whom he joined last season. However, his stay at Simba was short-lived after suffering a career threatening injury and had to stay out for six months to recover. Simba opted to loan him out to KCB after his recovery.

KCB will be happy to have the player back even if just for a short while and coach Rishadi Shedu believes he can help them survive relegation.

“He is a key player and we look up to him to help us remain in top flight football next season. With him we are sure everything will be well as he also inspires other team-mates,” Shedu said.

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