After conquering KPL, Muguna now eyes European football
The star of the 2016 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) Footballer of the Year Awards and Western Stima midfielder Kenneth Mugambi Muguna now dreams of playing in Europe after being feted as the Most Valuable Player on Tuesday night.
The unheralded midfielder who trumped celebrated names in the domestic top flight to walk away with Ksh1.6m in prize money, two 43-inch smart television sets and a smartphone attributed his success to his father, supporters and even his critics.
The 20 year-old beat Gor Mahia and Harambee Stars defender Eric ‘Marcelo’ Ouma, Ulinzi Stars marksman John Mark Makwatta and Tusker’s duo Humphrey Mieno and David Okello to the most prestigious award in a colourful gala ceremony held at a Nairobi hotel.
Speaking to Citizen Digital after his coronation Muguna who earlier won the Midfielder of the Year Award besides finishing second to Ouma in the New Player of the Year acknowledged Stima’s role in shaping his fledgling football career.
“I thank want to thank God for winning this award and Stima for giving me a chance to play my first season in the top flight.
“I also thank my loyal fans and my critics for they all keep me going, without them this day would have been different,” the ecstatic Muguna who was spotting dyed locks and a dark suit said.
The former National Super League side Palos FC player dedicated the awards to his mentor and father after becoming the latest KPL king.
“My father back at home has always supported me. His advice since childhood has been incredible and he has never doubted my capability.
“Whenever you see a player succeeding many people are behind that success but there are those who guide their destiny that will always stand out and my dad has been so influential,” Muguna emphasised.
He declared his ultimate dream is to play in Europe with the soft spoken player tight lipped on where he play his football next season.
His coach, Henry Omino admitted a number of top local clubs are pursuing the signature of the player who helped them to their best ever KPL finish of sixth in the just concluded campaign.
Muguna rates their 4-0 demolition of relegated Ushuru FC where he netted the third with a superb header as his most memorable game in his breakthrough season where he scored four times.
-Divided social media-
Following his surprise MVP recognition, social media was awash with his name with opinion sharply divided on whether he was the most deserving of the top award.
“Land ladies and gentlemen, the Most Valuable Player #KPL2016 is Kenneth Muguna, our very own, congratulations Ken,” his elated club Stima tweeted on their official handle @WesternStima_fc.
“And the 2016 Premier League Player of the Year is Kenneth Muguna. I also don’t know him,” former Citizen Digital blogger, Tom Bwana added on the micro-blogging site, the Gor fanatic echoing the feelings of most among the Green Army who felt Ouma deserved the gong.
“If you have to pick one game in the just concluded KPL Season that Muguna performed in a level that was head and shoulders above all players in Kenya and it can be used as a reference to his qualities, which game was it and how good was he??” Andrew Chico Wanguche posted on Facebook.
“Kenneth Muguna Junior you deserve what you won. Complainers tembea Kenya ucheki game (travel around Kenya and watch the game). Talanta si dumba (talent is not black magic). Junior Jah Bless you,” David M. Ngugi tagged the MVP in a post congratulating him for his accolades.
Despite winning a first title in four years and 10th in their history, Tusker FC had only the Coach of the Year top award to show when Ugandan Paul Nkata was voted the best tactician with many in social media arguing their midfielder Mieno deserved the biggest gong on the night.
“You mean to say Mieno ametoka bure (has left empty handed), no award no nothing..Sipendi (I don’t like) Mieno na Sijawai msamehee Kutoka (and I have never forgiven him for leaving AFC) lakini hapo Sikubaliani Kapsa (But I totally do not agree with that)..He deserved at least something.. That’s not fair..,” Laureen Aseka also posted on Facebook.
And the most expensive player in KPL history, Rwanda striker Jacques Tuyisenge who joined Gor for Ksh4m before the start of the season was not spared a dig.
“And just like that, your 4M man walked away with a plate full of fufu (foofoo),” Agwata Manumu chided the K’Ogalo striker who failed to match his prize tag as the team surrendered the title they held for three years from 2013 to 15.
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