Juma the main shark at Kariobangi
At the start of the 2017 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season, no one thought Masoud Juma would grab media headlines let alone be a top contender for Golden Boot . He was little known then, and was in a newly promoted Kariobangi Sharks side, runners up in National Super League (NSL) in 2016.
However, with only two rounds of matches to go to the conclusion of the 2017 KPL season, Juma tops the score chart with 15 goals, three clear of second ranked Jacques Tuyisenge, Meddie Kagere and Kepha Aswani.
In an interview with Citizen Digital, the 21-year old said winning the individual accolade was never a priority but it would be a bonus should it come his way.
“If you ask my teammates they will tell you I wanted to score at least 25 goals in all competitions this season, it was never about Golden Boot.
“I thank God I’m already at 22 with two matches to go, so my dream is still valid,” the Harambee Stars trialist, said.
Last weekend, he scored four goals past Muhoroni Youth in their 7-0 rout which earned the latter a relegation ticket to NSL.
Juma’s Sharks have Nzoia Sugar and Nakumatt FC lined up as the next tests and he is acutely aware that he must rise up to the occasion if he is to attain his dream.
“If indeed I’ll be the top scorer, I will dedicate the Golden Boot to my fans who stood by me during the difficult times of the season.
“At some stage I faced fierce criticism when things were not working out, but I have proved the critics wrong. It (criticism) encourages me to keep working hard and focusing on a brighter future,” he added.
Juma will particularly not forget the horrendous events of June when his debut in a Kenya shirt in the 2-1 defeat to Sierra Leone gave him more agony than joy. What was supposed to be an eventful afternoon went awry after his poor show, and the football fans took it upon themselves to hand him a tongue-lash on social media.
However, as painful as it may, that is water under the bridge. The soft spoken striker has now eyes firmly set on the bigger things.
But again, had he not interrupted his season with unsuccessful trials in South Africa, he could have by now hit over 20 top flight goals this term.
In fact, being a man of thick skin, Juma did not take the failed attempts lying down, at times taking on his critics head on, on social media.
“It doesn’t matter whether you fail or pass, what matters is how you collect yourself and make it happen.
“Even Olunga (Michael) attended trials in South Africa and failed, but he’s now among the best strikers, and our national team’s main man,” he said back then.
And with barely two matches before the season ends, Juma could be on his way to greater things in Kenyan football, should he keep the fire burning and maintain the focus.
As to how far he can go is a matter of conjecture.
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