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We registered a comfortable 3-1 win against AFC Leopards in the league match played in Machakos this afternoon.

George Abege opened the scoring in the 12th, the striker heading home Patilla Omoto's free-kick to record his third goal in as many matches. Whyvonne Isuza drew the Leopards level shortly after with the match heading into the break tied.

A fluid second half display saw Sharks create several goal scoring chances; Duke Abuya restored our lead in the 52nd minute and with only the keeper to beat, Erick Kapaito saw his attempt on goal saved by Owade.

A swift attacking move saw Harrison Mwendwa tee up George Abege and the Ugandan import calmly slotted the ball home to stretch our lead. A host of attacks from AFC Leopards were well dealt with by the Sharks defence and the heroics of Gad Mathews in the Sharks' goalposts ensured that Sharks deservedly took home maximum points.

With four straight league wins, the Sharks maintain 6th place in the standings with an improved 46 points from 31 matches played so far. Our next assignment is against Ulinzi Stars in the SportPesa Shield Tournament on Sunday in Machakos.

Erick Kapaito registered his second hat trick of the season as the Sharks easily dispatched Nakumatt FC in the match played today at Camp Toyoyo, a win that saw us bag our third consecutive win in the league.

Nakumatt FC opened the scoring in the opening minutes of the first half but goals from George Abege and Erick Kapaito ensured that we headed into the break with the lead.

The boys turned up the heat in the second half with Sydney Lokale giving the Nakumatt FC defence a hard time. The striker was brought down in the box, Erick Kapaito stepped up to convert from the spot before grabbing his third and Sharks' fourth of the day.

Sydney Lokale who has a good game would deservedly get on the scoresheet after he beat the offside trap and chipped the ball past the helpless Nakumatt FC goalkeeper to make it five for Sharks. A late goal by Nakumatt FC only served to reduce the deficit as the match ended in favour of the Sharks.

We move two places up the league standings to sixth place with 43 points from 30 matches played so far. Our next league assignment is against AFC Leopards in Machakos.

 

 

 

Back in the early 90’s, as the country was fixated on the big rivalry between Kenya’s two most successful clubs in Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, and the emerging third force in Kenya Breweries now Tusker FC, something was cooking deep down in Eastlands, Nairobi, without much of smoke coming through the chimney for the public to see. Through the many youth games and tournaments run by Mathare Youth Sports Association(MYSA), a team was born in January 1994 at the heart of the slums of Mathare. Being new and unable to compete with the financial war chest of the Kenyan giants, youth development became their philosophy. Under the tutelage of Bob Munro, Mathare United embarked on a drive to recruit young players across the city and trusting them with the responsibility of taking on the big boys of Kenyan football. It wasn’t until 1998 that the club finally earned their place in the high table of our national soccer history when they clinched the Presidents Cup and they confirmed that it was no fluke when they repeated the same feat two years later.

 

But if the nation thought that this would be the only community club to represent eastlands in the national league, then we were dead wrong. In that very year (2000) that the Slum Boys were winning their second Presidents Cup, a few metres away from Mathare, a group of young men weren’t just going to let this inspiring story remain a story, they dared to live it in their own way. Inspired by their impressive performances in the annual tournaments that MYSA ran, they decided that it was now time to move from playing seasonal tournaments to forming their own team and take on the grueling journey of qualifying to play in the national league just like Mathare United. So the trips to across the Mathare river became fewer and fewer as they set base in Kariobangi recruiting their very own youngsters, most of whom were players unable to break into the Mathare United senior or youth team and others who were also being dropped by other big teams and fielding them in the lower tier league that they enrolled for under the name Kariobangi Sharks FC. Admittedly, it was never easy to hold on to their hot shots as Mathare United was always lurking and the allure to play in the first tier was always irresistible for their players when offers streamed in. Nevertheless, the journey for the boys from Kariobangi who were led by yet another boy, in his mid twenties, continued. The boy, Nicholas Mwendwa, would later on become the president of Football Kenya Federation.

 

December 10th 2016, at around 5:00 PM, the long awaited whistle was blown. The centre referee ended the final game of the NSL season with Kariobangi Sharks playing a man less after midfielder Sven Yidah was red carded emerging victorious over champions Nzoia Sugar by a single goal. After years of hard work and determination, the Sharks were finally coming to the Kenyan Premier League, where they believed they belonged. Seen by some as a breakaway movement from Mathare United and others as a team that just learned from Mathare United and dared to dream, it was obvious that a meeting between the two was always going to be an explosive one.

 

But before they had even kicked a ball against each other in the Kenyan Premier League, Sharks threw the first blow by signing one of Mathare United top players in goalkeeper Robert Mboya. This audacious move was surely a statement of intent that the Kariobangi based side was sending to their senior neighbors. Nobody would have imagined that one day the tables will turn and that Sharks could poach a top talent from Mathare. It was a norm for top Sharks players to leave for Mathare and not the other way round. Mathare United had even poached young tactician, Stanley Okumbi from Sharks back in 2012.

 

On 9th May 2017, all the off pitch bitterness and taunting was kept aside as the two teams finally met in a competitive fixture for the first time in their history. The much awaited battle of supremacy of the two community based sides from the slums of Eastlands was played at Machakos Stadium and the Sharks emerged victorious against the Slum boys with a slim 2-1 victory in a game that kept its drama from the first to the last minute. The second leg fixture on 13th September was even more dramatic. First, Slum boys old boy Mboya saved a penalty to safeguard his clean sheet and in the second half the third goal for the Sharks came from another Mathare United old boy in Duke Abuya as the Sharks left Kasarani Stadium with a 3-0 victory to complete a double over their senior neighbors.

 

In both of these fixtures, William Muluya, a protégé to Mathare United tactician Francis Kimanzi, was also having a special moment as this was a double over his teacher. Additionally, Muluya has himself previously served as Team manager at Mathare United and has received much of his coaching credentials from the coaching clinics and programs run by MYSA, the organization that gave birth to Mathare and that is responsible for feeding Mathare senior team with youngsters.

 

As if this wasn’t enough, the slum boys had to fight tooth and nail to stay in the KPL while sharks finished at an impressive third position and were also runners up in the FKF GOTV Cup. But the Mathare United faithful aren’t anywhere near bowing down to the Sharks from Kariobangi. They will always remind the Sharks that they have lifted three national trophies and that a discussion of who is greater than the other will only begin on that day that Sharks will lift a trophy. How sharks wish that they had lifted the Shield.

 

This year, the teams picked up their rivalry where they left it last year, with Mathare snapping back their prodigal son Robert Mboya at the deadline day of the January transfer window while Sharks took speedy winger Harrison Mwendwa from their rivals. When they met earlier this season, Mboya made history by becoming the first player to feature for both teams in this fixture as the Slum derby ended in a 1-1 draw in front of a packed Camp Toyoyo.

 

This Sunday, they meet for the fourth slum derby at the Kasarani Stadium with Mathare seating 7th on the log, a point ahead of the Sharks who have suffered three consecutive defeats ahead of this fixture letting in a whooping eight goals. The slum boys are equally enduring tough times as they are winless in five games having lost three and drawn twice in their last five league fixtures.

 

This fixture therefore presents both teams an opportunity to rediscover their winning ways and head to the league homestretch heads high.

 

 

 

 

When the five year old soccer fan decided that it was time to play, standing between the sticks was what he wanted to emulate from those he watched. Luckily for him, the best of those he watched between the sticks was from his neighborhood, a Kenya one in the making at that time would become his coach and is today his mentor; multiple league winner, Tusker FC and Gor Mahia legend Boniface Oluoch was the man. Fast forward 2018, he finds himself yet under the care of another great Kenyan goalie in legend Sunir our goalkeeper trainer and an understudy to the reigning Goalkeeper of the year John Oyemba. He made his senior debut at just 17 in a cup fixture during his school holidays last August and got his league debut aged 18 years, in between those two debut lies yet another debut, a clean sheet away in Kigali, Rwanda for the National under 20 side in the AFCON qualifiers. Surely, the gods of soccer have chosen this one.

 

Walk through his story with this transcript of his interview on Sharks TV.

 

You are new in these circles, so tell us about yourself?

 

Bwire is a young Kenyan who likes to have his hands on the football.

 

Your birth place?

 

I was born and bred in Makongeni, east of Nairobi.

 

How did you find yourself playing soccer?

 

My elder brother used to play football, so I would follow him to the training pitch and support him on match days, and my interest in the game grew each day that I watched guys play. Then we started playing in between the small spaces between our houses, making goalposts using stones that laid by the roadside or sometimes using our sandals until a guy from our neighborhood, who would later become my coach, bought us a good ball. Soon, he started the Makongeni Sports Association (MASA) and we become his first players.

 

Why the goalkeeper position?

 

Makongeni has produced many good goalkeepers, top amongst them being Boniface Oluoch and Peter Odhiambo. These guys were my idols so I wanted to be like them. They lived in our area and most kids and even adult fans adored them. They were so supportive giving us training equipment's and moral support. My first pair of goalkeeper gloves was a gift from Bonnie. So when the whole country was talking about Bonnie, I was privileged to have him as my first ever goalkeeper trainer, for free. I would attend almost all his games that were played with in Nairobi and before I knew it, I had found another big brother and he is my mentor until this day.

 

What is it about Bonnie that you admire the most?

 

I love the confidence and composure that he plays with. He is never afraid to come for a cross swinging across his area, he always want his defenders to pass the ball to him and involve him in the team build up and of course a striker better be careful when chasing his back pass because a nutmeg may come out of nowhere. I think he is the most complete “modern goalkeeper we have around” apart from his saves and distribution, he is so good on his feet and a wonderful communicator.

 

You just completed high school last year; tell us about your school life

 

I studied at St. John Primary School and then I went straight to Kakamega High School. My primary school wasn’t so much into sport but at Kakamega it was wonderful to study there. I remember I was about to join Vihiga High School, another soccer giant, but when the offer to join Kakamega on full scholarship came I never thought twice.

 

Kakamega High soccer team, the Green Commandos, is the most successful soccer team in high school games and it has produced lots and lots of top players and legends for our country. It is like the La Masia or Ajax Amsterdam Academy of Kenya. You saw that they are champions again this year, it’s unbelievable. The expectation and pressure to perform there has really helped me, the whole of Kakamega town is normally behind the team. I think after Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, Kakamega is the most supported team in the country.

 

They have even gone a step higher and registered for the lower tier leagues, so a good number of students play senior league football when the school games have ended or taken a break and this really helped us because at 15 or 16 or 14 to battling out with senior teams really toughens you.

 

I also got experience of playing far away from home, in a new environment where people do things differently.

 

You are clearly a proud alumnus. Your best memories there at Kakamega?

 

The very best thing to me was that it was in my final year there that we earned the team promotion to the national super league. To be part of such a history making journey means a lot to me as a young man. We also got this game, in the regionals away at Epibomet High School where we were really outran by our opponents and it was raining. I pulled very many saves that day, some that I myself couldn’t believe. I really wish that it could have been recorded on camera; I just didn’t believe I kept a clean sheet.

 

You also featured in the Kenyan Premier League under 20, tell us about it

 

Yes, you know at that time, Kariobangi Sharks was still playing in the second tier so the team that approached me was AFC Leopards. Since most league teams didn’t have academies at that time, what they did was select students from a number of schools and have us camp together. So it was a wonderful experience for me there, we had a good run and I learned a lot. I played in the national stadium for the first time and played a broadcasted match for my first time also.

 

By the time you were in your final year at high school, several offers were streaming in, what made you settle for Sharks?

 

I took a lot of time to decide. It was a little bit confusing for me and I knew that I needed to be careful with the decision so I got the opinions of guys close to me and then I decided to have one last meeting with my mentor Bonnie and he advised to join Sharks. He told me that as a young player, this is the perfect place for me to grow. I feel happy here and I am sure I made the right decision.

 

What childhood dreams about football did you have?

 

I always dreamt of first of all playing in the Kenyan Premier League and establishing myself then moving somewhere abroad for a professional deal in order to have something to lift my family to better standards and of course to be the Kenya One.

 

Of being “Kenya One” have you set any specific time targets

 

Look, I am only 18 now, and you know our position is quite different from the other ten positions in the field. We cannot escape the fact that it is much harder for a goalkeeper to get a national team cap or even to get more minutes than an infield player. But that is no excuse since the likes of Casillas and Buffon started playing for their national team’s way to early when some still called them kids. Right now we also got Donnarumma and Pickford very young lads, and De Gea also was Atletico and Manchester United number one at a very young age. So I will say that I am happy I have played for our under 20 and I am working hard to be a top goalkeeper and Kenyan one hopefully very soon.

 

You recently got your league debut, what did it fell like?

 

The feeling was good. I think the cup tie that the coach gave me my senior debut last year had taken away the butterflies already. I told myself if I played well that day then I can also play well today.

 

When did you know you will be starting and how was the preparation?

 

The coach told me as early as Monday that I will be playing that weekend. My goalkeeper trainer Hassan shah started psyching me up for the game giving me lots of psychological preparation. A day before the game I had a good conversation with my mentor bonnie and he told what he has been telling me since I was a small kid, tulia tu, cha maana ni kutulia. The senior players in our squad were also supportive especially the other two keepers Oyemba and Gad.

 

You also made your national team under 20 debut recently, meaning you had three big debuts just within eleven months, how has that affected you?

 

It has really motivated me. It has made work even harder since I can say I am seeing the fruits of the hours I am always putting in. The first one, I was happy to keep a clean sheet in my first competitive game for my club, in the second one it was my first time donning the national team jersey and the first time playing outside the country and I was really disappointed that the clean sheet we kept wasn’t enough to move us to the next round of AFCON under 20 qualifiers. The third one, just recently was also good, we got our biggest win of the season and I really wish that I had kept a clean sheet that day also. All this three significant games of my career are important and what they have done is just to make me work harder.

 

You are now done with shuffling between school and soccer, what is it like now being a player full time?

 

I am happy that now I can focus fully on my career. Finishing school means more hours of training available for me. I am also very happy at this club since the senior players are really supportive, they always encourage me to do better. I also feel at home since we also have many young players like me here, also being given a chance. When I found myself in the same team with several schoolmates like Mazembe, Henry Juma, and now Kuol and Mwangi I feel good and motivated.

 

After growing up with Bonnie, a goalkeeping legend, you are now working with another legend in Sunir and you also got the reigning keeper of the year. Do you think this shows you are destined for greatness between the sticks?

 

Sunir is a very good goalkeeper trainer, its long since he retired but at the training pitch he does some things that make you think he is still actively playing. It’s a shame, I wasn’t able to see him play, I have told him to dig in and see if can get even one of his games because I would really love to watch him. Oyemba is also a top goalkeeper and he really deserves the title that he holds and the fact that he won it in his debut season talks a lot about his ability. I think the best I can do is to first thank my God for always putting me in good hands and to repay his favor by working hard to become a top goalkeeper in the future. It may well be destiny.

 

Your top three goal keepers locally and globally?

 

Of course locally I will always start with Bonnie then I will say Peter and Oyemba.

 

Globally I go for De Gea, Courtois and Navas.

 

Which team do you support in Europe and Why?

 

Chelsea. When I started watching EPL I was still small but what made me love them is that I saw many Africans play for them.

 

Favorite food?

 

Ugali and Fish.

 

Which joint prepares the best fish here in Nairobi?

 

Hahah! A certain small hotel in my hood called Japolo. I swear they are the best.

 

Favorite color?

 

Black

 

Why?

 

Mmmh! First I am a black man so black. Then you also know that most of the times our national team goalkeepers put on black so I grow up seeing many keepers wearing black and we also got it on our flag.

 

Tell us about your free time?

 

Mostly, I am back at home training younger goalkeepers. I try to replicate what my mentor did to me. I want more top keepers from Makongeni.

 

Your best friend in the team?

 

That is Wiki Wycliffe Otieno. His always telling funny stories so when you are with him you will always find yourself laughing.