April Player of the Month Waruru salutes KDF in Somali

Stephen Waruru (R) receives his award from LG Electronics General Marketing Manager Moses Marji as ...
(file)Stephen Waruru (R) receives his award from LG Electronics General Marketing Manager Moses Marji as former Royal Media Services Sports Editor Mutwiri Mutuota (C) watches on. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

Ulinzi Stars marksman who is enjoying a sensational return to football action after a two-year spell in the cold on a peace-keeping mission in Sudan has been crowned the SJAK Player of the Month for April.

For dedication, the 26-year-old sent a heart-warming message to his colleague soldiers as he trounced Posta Rangers goalkeeper Patrick Matasi in a run-off vote to become the club’s second ever recipient of the gong after John Makwata who won it in 2015.

“This goes to the soldiers at the frontline defending this country. I know what you feel and how it is to defend the country. You are my colleagues and this is for you,” concluded Waruru.

The diminutive Waruru pockets Sh100 000 and a 49-inch television set from South Korean manufacturing conglomerate LG Electronics while the rest of Ulinzi platoon share Sh50 000 separately awarded to teammates of winning players.

In a congested month that Ulinzi Stars played eight league matches winning three and drawing a similar number, Waruru weighed in with four eye catching goals including a brace against a woeful Mathare that succumbed 5-1 to the soldiers might and point winning efforts in stalemates against Tusker and Western Stima.

After coasting through initial list of nominated players, Waruru slipped into an inseparable shortlist of four that entailed Posta Rangers duo Jockins Atudo and Patrick Matasi and the free scoring AFC Leopards forward Gilbert Fiamenyo.

Statistics of the quartet in final shortlist failed to produce a clear winner prompting a vote by sports journalists. The initial poll still failed to separate the players as Matasi and Waruru tied on 21 points while Fiamenyo and Atudo fell by the wayside.

Waruru then edged Kenya’s reigning golden glove winner by a single vote in the run-off to claim 2017’s second gong. Nzoia Sugar defender Brian Otieno had scooped the March award.

“I came back to the league in April and did very well. I’m impressed by that performance and hope to keep scoring. Four goals in April alone and now eight in total. Hopefully I will contest for golden boot come end of the season. I have targets which currently are personal but I’m working towards them.” a jubilant Waruru said.

Waruru’s blistering form earned him a call-up to the national team for the first time under the stewardship of First Coach Stanley Okumbi.

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Story By Mike Okinyi
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