Strathmore University Gladiators forward Festus Onyango secured Golden Stick accolades in Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League as the 2017/2018 entered the penultimate stage at the weekend.
The Strathmore forward was unable to add to his 20 goals in his side’s 3-0 loss to Parkroad Badgers on Saturday, but it didn’t matter as his close competitor, Amos Barkibir of Kenya Police, scored once in his side’s 1-1 draw with Butali Sugar Warriors to finish on 19.
Sikh Union Nairobi’s Davies Wanangwe finished on 17 goals after scoring the winner in his side’s 2-1 win over bottom-placed Technical University of Kenya (TUK).
It was a bittersweet experience for Onyango, who will be crowned officially when the season ends on Sunday.
His team Strathmore, which started the season as the defending champions, faltered badly to finish a disappointing eighth with 34 points, 43 behind champions-elect Kenya Police.
The Maseno School old boy admitted his feat would have meant more to him had his side retained their title.
“I thank my teammates and coach for making me the player I am. It is because of them that I was able to reach these heights and it is therefore a team effort,” he told Nation Sport.
His goals also saw him called up to the national team for last year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Ismailia, Egypt and Onyango is eyeing to reach the 30-goal mark next season.
“We will go back to the drawing board and see where our season went wrong and work on coming back better next season. I want to score more goals and help the team win more titles,” he added.
Barkibir has certainly been the revelation of the season as his goals have helped fire Police to an impressive campaign reclaiming the title after five barren years.
The soft-spoken lad has also been tipped to win the Most Valuable Player award after a glorious season that also saw him debut for the national team at last year’s Africa Cup of Nations.
With talismanic striker Moses Cheplaiti approaching the twilight of his career, Barkibir, 22, is ready to lead Police to more glory.
“I have learnt a lot from the senior players of the squad and it is because of them that I have chipped in with those goals, it is all down to team work,” Barkibir said.
The women’s accolade will be settled this weekend with Telkom’s Jackline Mwangi (25 goals) and her teammate Audrey Omaido 22 goals in the running.
Champions-elect Telkom face Mombasa Sports Club in their final match.
Men’s Premier League Top Scorers:
Festus Onyango (Strathmore, 20 goals); Amos Barkibir (Kenya Police 19); Davis Wanangwe (Sikh Union 16); Allan Odongo (Parklands 14); Chris Wokila (Greensharks 13); Samuel Wokila (Kenya Police 13).
Women’s Premier League Top Scorers:
Jackie Mwangi (Telkom 25); Audrey Omaido (Telkom 22 goals); Pauline Naise (Amira 22); Rhoda Kuria (USIU-A 19); Gilly Okumu (Strathmore 17)