James Magayi @magayijim
SportPesa Premier League golden boot favourite Elvis Rupia has scored his way to the April Player of the Month gong and affirmed his allegiance to his Bungoma-based club for the remainder of the season.
The 22-year-old Nzoia Sugar hit man, who is the subject of intense lobbying from other clubs, outscored Zoo FC duo Nicholas Kipkirui and Michael Madoya to claim the April award that comes with a 49-inch LG television set and Sh100,000 from SportPesa.
Rupia has hogged the spotlight this season, scoring 12 goals and hit the back of the net four times in April. He garnered 19 votes to Kipkirui’s 17 while Madoya collected 15. Chris Masinza of Vihiga United was a distant fourth with 9 votes.
With four goals each for their clubs, the three leading players in that month ranked a goal better than Masinza but Rupia emerged top to beat the equally exceptional Zoo FC duo.
“I am very happy to be honoured for what I do on the pitch and hopefully, this will spur greater effort from me. I could not have achieved this without the support of my team-mates and club officials so I dedicate this to them as well,” Rupia said after being feted at the club’s Sudi stadium.
He added: “I don’t know who is going to win the golden boot race this year but I will surely give my best for the rest of the season to claim it. It would be another fulfilled dream. There are already fruits of scoring goals like getting a call-up to the national team but there is still plenty of work to be done so that I actually earn a national team cap.”
Rupia reminisced about Nzoia’s poor start to the season and attributed their resurgence to a candid team talk when performance was most dismal. “We sat down and interrogated ourselves then made decisions that have borne fruit.
Each one of us realised what was do be done and we all worked towards it. There is a target to finish high up in the league, possibly third which means we have to work extra hard for the remainder of the season,” he said.