Five players to watch out this season - Daily Nation

Five players to watch out this season

Friday December 7 2018

Nyasa Big Bullets 's Chiukepo Pulli (left) fights for the ball with Gor Mahia's Shafik Batambuze during their Caf Champions League preliminary round first leg encounter at the Kasarani Stadium on November 28, 2018. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

Nyasa Big Bullets 's Chiukepo Pulli (left) fights for the ball with Gor Mahia's Shafik Batambuze during their Caf Champions League preliminary round first leg encounter at the Kasarani Stadium on November 28, 2018. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By VINCENT OPIYO
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The 2018/19 SportPesa Premier League season gets underway this weekend breaking away from the traditional February kick-off.

Hundreds of fans expect a season full of player exploits with the below highly expected to fulfil the desires.

Shafik Batambuze (Gor Mahia)

The 23-year-old returns to the Kenyan football scene after a season in the neighbouring Tanzanian Premier League with Singida United.

The Ugandan left back has already marched straight into K’Ogalo’s starting 11 as replacement for compatriot Godfrey Walusimbi, who departed to South African big wigs Kaizer Chiefs in August.

Batambuze’s work is cut out, to replicate his performance in 2016 with Tusker, one that saw the brewers win a double.

Batambuze is good on crosses and set pieces outside the area.

“I am here to help the club win as many titles as possible,” the former Western Stima and Sofapaka man emphasized.

Mike Madoya (Tusker)

The 2017 Most Valuable Player is among players unveiled at Tusker. Madoya has already proved his prowess in Robert Matano’s squad scoring a brace in a friendly match against Malawi side Silver Strikers.

Having scored seven goals last year and doubled the figure in the just concluded 2018 season, the diminutive offensive midfielder is confident of replicating his form back at Zoo Kericho to guide Tusker to league glory.

Madoya has an eye for goal and knows when to position himself in the danger zone.

“I am excited at my second career move, I am hopeful that I can keep on scoring,” he said.

Sydney Lokale (Kariobangi Sharks)

Nineteen-year-old Sydney Lokale seems to be the new star on the rise in town with his recent exploits aiding Sharks to their maiden Kenyan Premier League Super Cup.

Sharks coach William Muluya has preferred to utilize the Lodwar-born forward off the bench and the youngster has proved his coach otherwise scoring on all occasions.

The striker is not only a good dribbler but also quick and strong in the air. He has set a target of 28 goals in all competitions this season.

“I believe I can set a record if I work hard and deliver whenever given a chance,” he said.

Cliff Nyakeya (Mathare United)

Fourteen goals and 10 assists last season is all Nyakeya needed to clinch the midfielder of the year award in the annual awards gala last season.

Can he replicate the same form for the Slum Boys this campaign? The 23-year-old remains a favourite in the Francis Kimanzi-led camp after failing to materialize a move to champions Gor Mahia.

Predominantly a winger, the former Gor Mahia youth player can utilize his speed to cut in and score from outside the 18.

Isaac Kipyegon (AFC Leopards)

Kipyegon joined a team that has been operating without a modern left back for the past two seasons.

Ghanaian Isaac Oduro’s shift to a central defence has opened doors for the former Zoo Kericho man who has since cemented his place in the starting line up.

He has featured in the three preseason friendlies for the 13-time champions against Wazito, KCB and Ulinzi Stars, scoring a brace in the latter.

His timely crosses into the box could be a big plus to Ingwe forwards led by Zimbabwean Michelle Katsvairo. He is also good in set pieces.

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