The latest entrant at Nairobi City Stars – Nicholas Kipkirui – has talked up his early days at the club.
The speedy finisher, known to his peers as Kipchabet (arrow), joined the club in mid-March from champions Gor Mahia with whom he severed ties with to onboard Simba wa Nairobi as a free agent.
Kipkirui, a former Matrix and Zoo FC sharpshooter, made a cameo appearance for his debut in the round of 16 clash against Tusker FC, a game that ended 2-2.
“The draw against Tusker felt like a loss. We had the game under control for the whole of 90 minutes. We scored two very well worked goals but then we conceded a soft goal and that allowed them back in the game,” said the 2018 Kenyan Premier League Young player and New Player of the year.
“They are experienced and seized the chance. But I am so happy how we fared against a team that is at the top of the league,”
The Tusker stalemate came after the team had contained AFC Leopards at Kasarani only to concede right at the death of added time to painfully fall 1-0.
At that point Kipkirui had not joined the club but even then, that containment of ingwe, as well as the even-stevens with the brewers, gives him a view of a respectable finish for the club at the close of the season.
“In our other match, we were so unlucky to lose against AFC Leopards at the last minute. These results show we can achieve something this season. I am looking realistically at a top-six finish, or even better,”
He took a look at the blend in the squad, and he likes the chemistry in the Sanjin Alagic coached team.
While the likes of Anthony Kimani, Peter Opiyo, Salim Abdalla, Kenedy Onyango, Ezekiel Odera bring on the experience, a long list of other players such as Timothy Noor Ouma and sibling Elvis Noor Ojiambo, as well as keeper Elvis Ochoro, Rowland Makati, Ronney Kola and Edwin Buliba are in to learn the ropes.
Ouma and Ochoro were in the recent past considered for the Kenya U20 while Oliver Maloba was called up the senior team Harambee Stars where he made the bench in two friendly games against South Sudan and Tanzania.
“The coach has selected several good players with experience and youngsters who have a good future,”
“This is our first season in the top-flight after a while and we have done well enough to attract players to the national team. Things can only get better and I am willing to help the youngsters who require guidance,”
In between his past club and City Stars, Kipkirui had stayed out for weeks without kicking a ball. He’s excited to be back and he is on a mission.
“My target is to score goals. I cannot say how many but if I can hit ten in the second leg of the season, then I will be satisfied,”
“I want to impress on my coach at the club level who has put a lot of faith in me, and also the national team coach because the World Cup qualifiers are coming up,””
“I am so relieved that I am back to playing football after a long time and this has put the smile back on my face,”
Kipkirui is expected to set alive the rest of City Stars season just as he did at his former club during derby days and at the continental scene.