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Waruru targets golden boot after return to form

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Ulinzi Stars striker Stephen Waruru (right) celebrates alongside teammate Daniel Waweru after scoring the lone goal that ended Posta Rangers’ unbeaten run on Sunday May 21 at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 8 – Pint-sized Ulinzi Stars striker Stephen Waruru targets a second career golden boot after announcing his return to the Kenyan Premier League with outstanding form scoring seven goals in 10 matches.

Waruru who scored 12 goals in 2012 to finish the season as the top scorer believes he can better the scoring feat five years later with 21 rounds of matches left to play.

“I believe I can do it; it is all about self belief and hard work. I can’t stay comfortable now just because I have scored seven goals in 10 games. This is a push for me to work harder and score more goals,” Waruru, also the current league top scorer told Capital Sport.

“I have targets as to the number of goals I want to score and I will work hard to achieve them. But at the moment the primary thing for me is to see the team perform well whether I score or not,” adds the finisher.

The striker stayed out for close to two seasons after leaving the team to head to a peace keeping mission, toeing the line of his first call as a soldier.

-First game, first goal-

Ulinzi Stars striker Stephen Waruru listens to words from head coach Benjamin Nyangweso during their Kenyan Premier League match against Mathare United on April 23, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

He came back towards the close of last year but had to wait until the fourth game of the 2017 season to finally get his chance. He entered the field of play as a substitute in Ulinzi’s match against Tusker and barely 20 seconds on the pitch, bang! He had scored.

“I kept telling my teammates that I would come back in the fourth match of the season and score. They used to laugh thinking I am joking. Only Riky (Jacktone Odhiambo) believed me and when I did exactly that, they were shocked,” Waruru narrated to Capital Sport.

He admits it has not been easy for him to get back to tip top form but praises the belief the technical bench and team mates had on him as the motivation for him to get back to his best.

“In the mission, there is not so much time to train nor play football. It happened only once in a while and when it did, it was just for fun. Just to kill off the boredom of work. I had to really work hard when I came back. One and a half years is no short time,” narrated the former Thika United man.

Other than achieving a second golden boot, Waruru hopes he can steer Ulinzi to their fifth Kenyan Premier League crown and a first domestic title since their KPL Top 8 conquest in 2011.

-Winning title-

Harambee Stars players Stephen Waruru and Ovellah Ochieng during water break during a training session at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on June 2, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

He believes the team which has stayed together for close to three seasons now has the right mentality and ability to challenge for the title having finished up the first leg placed third on the log.

“We are playing so well and everyone is putting in the hard work. The good thing with the team is that we push each other to work. I see the same spirit we had in 2010 when we had a resolve as players to work had to win matches,” he added.

Apart from doing well for his club, Waruru hopes to make a mark for the national team as well especially having made the cut to the team that travelled to Sierra Leone for Saturday’s 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifier.

With the absence of Jesse Were through injury, Waruru might get the nod to partner Michael Olunga in the forward line.

“I am ready if given the chance to play. I am quite pleased to get this chance and this adds more confidence to me. Hopefully I will keep on because that is the most important thing,” Waruru added.

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