Kibwage: Sofapaka title ambitions still achievable
- The 23-year-old signed for Batoto ba Mungu last season from KCB and was named captain of the side who are currently 12th in the Football Kenya Federation Premier (FKF) League table.
- The center-back believes the current team has what it takes to lift the FKF PL title.
Sofapaka captain Michael Kibwage says winning the league title with his side this term is still achievable.
The 23-year-old signed for Batoto ba Mungu last season from KCB and was named captain of the side who are currently 12th in the Football Kenya Federation Premier (FKF) League table.
The center-back believes the current team has what it takes to lift the FKF PL title.
Sofapaka pulled a 1-0 win over KCB to dim chances of the Bankers moving clear at the top of the FKF Premier League table on Saturday.
It was former Gor Mahia midfielder Lawrence Juma who scored the all-important goal for Batoto ba Mungu in the 35th minute to help them end the team’s run of two straight defeats in the top-flight league.
The Bankers had come into the match sitting at the top of the 18-team table, tied on 36 points with AFC Leopards but ahead on goal difference – and winning would push them three points clear at the summit.
“I believe we can make it by simply ensuring we score and keep tight at the back – we have a good team and what we need to do is to stay calm, we have seen teams make it and yes we too can do it,” the defender said.
Kibwage recalls his early playing days but the 2016 Kenya Premier League (KPL) Under-20 tournament opened up doors for him.
Kibgwage was spotted by AFC Leopards while playing for Kakamega Homeboyz and it was then that his star began to shine
Kibwage got recruited into Kakamega Homeboyz Under-20 side team after being scouted by coach Gilbert Silebwa and proceeded on to turn out for the team in three consecutive KPL Under 20 Championship.
Upon the conclusion of 2016 KPL Under-20 Championship edition, AFC Leopards coach Stewart Hall signed Kibwage at AFC Leopards on a two-year contract.
“I had an outstanding display in the third edition of the KPL Under-20 Champions and upon conclusion, I had several offers on the table but the Leopards deal was more lucrative. Negotiations would take place and upon agreement, I inked my first professional contract at the den.”
“I had a fair spell while with Leopards, though my first season wasn’t a good one I managed to work my way up in the second season. It’s during my last season at the Den when the Kenya Commercial Bank football club sought my services. A deal by the Bankers proved so lucrative and it was near impossible to turn down the offer. I joined the Bankers at the start of 2019 where I served the club for two years before joining my current employer,” he said.
“Joining the club was a tough decision to make because my then employer KCB offer and that which was tabled were both lucrative but one thing stood out the club’s title ambitions. This was the deal-breaker and equally a huge exposure to attract more offers out of the country. Not forgetting coach John Baraza who equally played a role in convincing me to join the club.”
Tusker FC coach Robert Matano has had an impact on many local footballers and Kibwage says, the experienced gaffer gave him the much needed boost in kick starting his pro football career.
“I earned my debut game in 2017 playing against Tusker Football Club at the Nyayo National Stadium. Though deployed in a not-so-familiar position, I felt so elated to play my very first match at the top level and to crown it all we won the encounter 1-0. I must appreciate coach Matano for handing me my first game and subsequently playing an active role in my development.”
“My journey has been a good one, I have been able to win a personalized award being named Under-20 KPL Championship best defender, winning the GoTV shield cup while at AFC Leopards.”
The South B born defender already has 10 national team caps under his belt and is currently the Under-23 captain.
“My journey to the National team has been a steady one. The growth has been immense. Getting to represent the country is such an honor and privilege. I played my first match against Swaziland under coach Sebastian Migne, and afterward have played a couple of matches for the Harambee Stars. The national team is a different level and one has to remain at their best all the time. I have gained a lot and I feel ready to command a starting role in the team.”
“My desire as a player is to win the FKF-Premier League title, grace the CAF Champions League tournament and represent the country at the national team,” he concluded.
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