NAIROBI, May 20– After being feted as Sports Journalists Association of Kenya/SportPesa Player of the Month of April, Ulinzi Stars midfielder John Makwata has set sights on earning a maiden Harambee Stars call-up.
Makwata, who scored five goals in four matches last month, won the monthly gong ahead of Thika United midfielder, Jackson Macharia and Tusker FC forward Jesse Were to take home Sh50,000 (USD 517.7), a 42-inch smart television and a trophy engraved with his name.
The 21-year-old who is the second recipient of the award after Gor Mahia’s Victor Ali Abondo, is hoping to continue his good form to break into Stars head coach, Bobby Williamson’s 2017 AFCON qualifiers squad and ultimately, play for his nation.
“I’m happy because it’s every player’s dream to win an award. This will open up more opportunities for me and hopefully one day, play for national team. Of course, I was anticipating to win because I scored in every weekend of April so I knew I would compete for it.
“This award will encourage me to work harder and at the moment, what is important for me is not what I achieve personally or the number of goals I want to score at the end of the season.
“It is what the team achieves and where we will be at the end of the season. I want to work hard to help the team win the title,” he underscored.
Makwata who received the gong at their Nakuru’s Afraha Stadium home ground, was escorted by team Captain Stephen Ochollah and his assistant James Saruni to pick the award and his Kenya Defence Forces teammates formed a guard of honour as he matched past with the trophy.
Head coach Robert Matano hailed the midfielder saying he has improved a lot since joining the 2010 champions from Nairobi City Stars mid-season last year.
“He has improved a lot because he has changed his attitude because he knows he is playing with the big team. He has adjusted to the team philosophy and he is coming up very well. He is still young we normally don’t hand him 90 minutes as part of the precaution measures to give him energy to concentrate more,” Matano said.
Makwata added he has settled in the team and looking forward to even bigger achievements like chasing tops scorers, Gor pair of Abondo and Meddie Kagere as well as AFC Leopards Jacob Keli who have netted eight goals apiece.
“It took a lot of time for me to settle but I thank my team-mates who helped me settle faster, we had good pre-season in Mombasa and Nanyuki that enabled me adapt quick.”