June 19, 2021 Patrick Korir

Kipkirui downs Homeboyz

Nicholas Kipkirui celebrating his first-ever premier league goal for Nairobi City Stars. It earned Simba wa Nairobi a 1-0 win over Kakamega Homeboyz on Sat 19 June 2021 at Ruaraka during a matchday 21 tie

Nicholas Kipkirui’s goal in the 63rd minute is all Nairobi City Stars needed to knock out Kakamega Homeboyz 1-0 in a premiership match 21 tie at Ruaraka on Saturday 19 June 2021.

Kipkirui’s goal, his first ever in the league for City Stars, came from close range after a sure pass from substitute Davis Agesa.

Agesa had only been on the pitch for three minutes, together with Anthony Muki Kimani, having come on for flyer Rodgers Okuse Okumu and Erick Ombija, respectively.

They brought the impact that turned around the game as Muki raced down the right wing to float a ball goalward. It received a knockdown to Agesa who squeezed the ball for Kipkirui to send it home for his maiden goal past Homeboyz keeper Geoffrey  Oputi who seemed unbeatable all evening.

The game could have taken a different dimension at the onset of the second half when Homeboyz won a penalty.

But City Stars keeper Steve Njunge pulled a massive save to deny Chris Masinza, ultimately changing the tone of the game.

Homeboyz, playing their traditional high press game, made their intent evident as early as the eighth minute with a freekick from winger David Okoth. It bounced off the City Stars wall.

City Stars had a response in the 21st minute when left-back Bolton Omwenga dropped a freekick in the goal area. It was cleared out.

On either side of the two set-pieces, two Homeboyz players; Francis Omondi, a defensive mid, and stopper Sylvester Owino had been slapped with yellow cards for bookable challenges as physicality in the game began to show.

Off a foul, Okoth was at it again with a freekick on 27 minutes but it went straight to Njunge. Again, Bolton responded to it with one for City Stars at the half-hour mark. It smacked the crossbar and back into play in what was the closest chance for a goal by the home team.

There were two further freekicks by Homeboyz moments later but freekicks by stopper Thomas Wainaina and Francis Omondi failed to hit the target.

The tide then shifted City Stars way but on two occasions, once by Kipkirui, the ball missed crossing the line by a whisker off a volley with the keeper beaten.

The game then rolled to halftime with either side wasting a free-kick each.

Straight into the second half, City Stars gave the ball away in midfield and it landed on Okoth on the right wing who then sent a floater goalward. It earned a penalty that Njunge parried out. It was the second time this season that Njunge has saved a penalty, adding on to his heroics in the season opener against Nzoia United in Narok.

22 minutes into the second half Homeboyz threw in three fresh legs to chase the game. Allan Wanga, Shami Kibwana and Collins Odhiambo all came on for Masinza, Stephen Opoku and Wainaina, in that order.

In the minutes that followed, City Stars were in the Homeboyz area with Kevin Okumu dropping a cross to the box, Oliver Maloba cutting back for Muki, and Bolton troubling Oputi with a freekick. None of those occasions bore fruits.

Homeboyz were to throw in their final card as they searched for points by introducing Stephen Etyang for injured Ali Bhai.

Moments later Homeboyz should have been level when Okoth raced down the left flank, burst into the box to fire home only for his attempt to be cut out by eventual game MVP Njunge.

The final minutes saw City Stars clean out the bench by bringing on Ezekiel Odera for Kipkirui, Elvis Noor Ojiambo for Maloba, and finally Wycliffe Otieno for Sven to protect the slim lead to the final minute.

With the win, that overturns a 2-0 first leg loss suffered at Bukhungu in February, Simba wa Nairobi now shoots upwards from eighth past Ulinzi and Bandari to settle at sixth spot with 29 points from 20 games ahead of Sunday games.

Next up for Nairobi City Stars is a round 22 tie away to Nzoia Sugar on Thur 24 June at Sudi Stadium.


Nairobi City Stars: 23. Steve Njunge (GK), 26. Bolton Omwenga, 25. Kenedy Onyango, 4. Salim Abdalla, 19. Kevin Okumu, 10. Peter Opiyo-Captain, 21. Oliver Maloba (2. Elvis Noor Ojiambo-89), 18. Sven Yidah (22. Wycliffe Otieno-90+), 24. Erick Ombija (30. Anthony Kimani-60), 7. Rodgers Okumu (11. Davis Agesa-60 ), 17. Nicholas Kipkirui (32. Ezekiel Odera-89)

Unused subs: 16. Jacob Osano (GK), 29. Ebrima Sanneh, 8. Calvin Masawa, 28. Herit Mungai,

Not considered: 6. Ronney Kola, 14. Rowland Makati (both on loan at Nairobi Stima), 1. Elvis Ochoro (GK), 3. Charles Otieno, 5. Wesley Onguso,  12. Edwin Buliba, 27. Azizi Okaka, 20. Timothy Noor Ouma, 15. John Kamau, 9. Vincent Otieno Okoth

Coach: Sanjin Alagic

Kakamega Homeboyz: 26. Geoffrey Oputi (GK), 6. Benjamin Oketch, 13. Thomas Wainaina (16. Collins Odhiambo-67), 15. Sylvester Owino, 20. George Odiwuor, 4. Francis Omondi, 24. Ali Bhai-Captain (7. Stephen Etyang-84), 15. Stephen Opoku (2. Shami Kibwana-67), 10. Moses Mudavadi, 22. Chris Masinza (14. Allan Wanga-67), 9. David Okoth

Unused subs: 32. David Juma (GK), 8. Stephen Mukongolo,

Coach: Nicholas Muyoti

Yellow cards

Nairobi City Stars: 23. Steve Njunge (90+)

Kakamega Homeboyz: 4. Francis Omondi (10), 15. Sylvester Owino (22)


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