KISUMU, June 9 – Western Stima custodian, Gabriel Andika is targeting to help his team finish third in the 2015 Kenyan Premier League after being crowned the surprise May winner of the SJAK/Sport-Pesa rotating monthly award on Tuesday.
The glove-man believe the Kisumu based electricians can overhaul local titans, Ulinzi Stars and AFC Leopards who are above the fifth placed side on 23 points after the conclusion of the first leg during the second half of the season.
The 20-year-old stood tall in between the sticks in May, conceding only two goals against Mathare United and kept three clean sheets including denying champions Gor Mahia to force a draw and the famous 2-0 win over Leopards where he denied Jacob Keli thrice.
“I feel happy to win this award. Hard work and support from teammates enabled me do well. The games against Gor and Leopards were big but I took them as normal so I was very confident.
“Good positioning and good communication with my defence was perfect and I think if we continue like this, we will finish third. The game against Mathare United where we lost 2-0 was my worst. I just had a bad day in office,” Andika who won the KPL Under-19 title in 2013 said after receiving his award at their Moi’s Kisumu Stadium training base.
The keeper, who joined Stima after completing high school at St Anthony, Kitale is hoping to fight his way to the national team for the first time.
“I would be very happy to play for the national team, that’s my next aim; I want to work hard to earn a call up. A player is playing time, I’m comfortable at Stima and I don’t intend to leave soon.”
Head coach, Henry Omino challenged head coach, Bobby Williamson to select players outside Nairobi, saying there is a lot of talent that is never noticed.
“It’s good motivation to the entire team, this means whatever they are doing is being seen and recognised, they will push their hard work to the limit.
“Andika has stood tall between the posts; he has done a marvellous job. Awarding a player outside Nairobi is a major boost unlike what we see in the national team selection. If the coach could look outside Nairobi, then that will be a very big step to us,” Omino who will drop five players from his squad during the mid season break, stated.
Andika was named ahead of Mathare United midfielder, Eric Johanna who got two votes against five.