Why little Kipkirui is smacking his lips in glee at Gor Mahia
Analysis, by Jacob Icia
Nicholas Kipkirui wants to leave an indelible mark in the current CAF Champions League campaign, warning first round opponents USM Alger to expect a fierier Gor Mahia than last season.
Kipkirui who grabbed a brace in Sunday’s 5-1 demolition of Burundi side Aigle Noir says the team is stronger than before, with more experience in the continental arena after featuring up to quarters finals of the CAF Confederations in the 2018/19 season.
With a new status as the lead striker in the current K’Ogalo set up after the exit of Rwanda international Jacques Tuyisenge, Kipkirui has set a high personal target both locally and in the CAF matches.
“Today (Sunday) we were on fire. We had not prepared so well in the first leg but after reading how they were playing away, we had proper strategy and better preparations. I personally have a target of at least seven goals in the CAF matches this season, hence the joy of getting two in the first home match this season,” offered the former Zoo Kericho man.
He accepted he was still fitting in last season at K’Ogalo, and now feels better placed to bang goals for the Kenyan record champions. While Tuyisenge and Francis Mustapha (of Burundi) were still around, Kipkirui had to fight for playtime with the two, with respected teammate Dennis Oliech also in the mix
Now he has Tanzanian Dickson Ambundo and Ghanaian Francis Afriye as partners and competitors in the attack, before Oliech who is still nursing injury resumes duty.
“For KPL it’s a different story, we want to retain the title and in doing that I want to win the Golden Boot. I feel confident and I’ve learnt a lot since arriving here, which should help me to keep scoring.”
In his last local match for Gor, Tuyisenge told Citizen Digital Kikirui had shown his potential to rise among his local peers, within and outside the club if only he could sustain the 2018/19 season scoring mojo.
“He is a very promising striker; he will be a key asset for this country in the football world if he can keep growing at the rate he has shown so far. He needs to sharpen a few skills like strategic positioning in finishing and he will be a man to watch,” said the Rwandese, now plying his trade in Angola.
Kipkirui remarks come with only four days before the Kenyan Premier League kickoff.
Meanwhile, Noir’s head coach Joslin Bipfubusa has blamed inexperience for the humbling defeat in the hands of Gor in the Sunday’s clash.
Despite holding Gor to a barren stalemate in the first leg staged in Bujumbura, he was only lucky to escape over seven goals defeat by the ruthless hosts.
“I was not lucky to be facing such a good side with a team that I’m rebuilding freshly after a successful previous season. I lost almost 90 percent of my first team in the pre-season and I have five new key players who were not registered in time for eligibility to play in this preliminary level. It’s quite an experienced side that I could not have demanded much from, against a formidable opponent like Gor Mahia,” a crestfallen Bipfubusa said.
Interestingly, Gor were also missing the services of Afriye, Clifton Miheso, Ivorian Gnamien Yikpei and Maurice Ojwang who are yet to be cleared by CAF following their late signings.
Noir were making their debut in the competition, with Bipfubusa earlier stating he cared less about Gor’s history in the continentals.