Kipkurui stepping up to fill Tuyisenge void

Kipkurui 3

Having scored double digit goals since his debut in the Kenyan Premier League in 2017, Nicholas Kipkurui does not bear any pressure to step up and replace Rwanda-born Jacques Tuyisenge who has left the 18-time Kenyan champions Gor Mahia for Angola’s Petro Atletico.

Kipkurui will lead Gor’s forward line for the new season both in the domestic campaign and continental level and the 23-year old says he is all but ready to step up to the void left by the Rwandese skipper.

"I have been here for one season already and I have accustomed myself to the demands of the club and in any capacity I am called in to work for the team, I will be ready" Nicholas Kipkurui

“I believe I am equal to the task and under no pressure. I have been here for one season already and I have accustomed myself to the demands of the club and in any capacity I am called in to work for the team, I will be ready,” Kipkurui told CAFOnline.com.

By his standards, Kipkurui’s 2018/2019 season was his lowest in scoring, having hit 12 goals; nine in the league and three in continental football. He already showed he can step up with Tuyisenge, Gor’s leading forward at the time, having scored 12; eight in the league and four in continental football.

In his debut season in the Kenyan top flight with Zoo Kericho in 2017, Kipkurui scored 14 goals and followed that up with 13 in the 2018 season. Moving to Gor was seen by many as a huge challenge but he slotted in seamlessly to command a starting role.

Kipkurui
"This season, I want to break my record of 14 goals and I have set a target of reaching at least 20" Kipkurui

“I think it is all about hard work and self belief. I just carried on with what I was doing at Zoo Kericho despite the pressure that comes with playing for Gor and once you are performing, then the rest is easy. I just ensured I worked hard in training and got a chance to play and when I did, scoring or assisting was always my target,” Kipkurui said.

“A year on, I have settled in well and I can only do better. This season, I want to break my record of 14 goals and I have set a target of reaching at least 20,” he added.

He has already scored five this season, hitting the back of the net twice in the CECAFA Kagame Cup, twice in the Total CAF Champions League preliminary round win over Burundi’s Aigle Noir and once in the league opener against Tusker FC, a game in which he played only 45 minutes due to injury.

With good form, his target is now to help K'Ogalo clinch a first ever slot in the CAF Champions League group stages with Algeria’s USM Alger standing on their way in the Round of 16.

“We have the ability to progress. We have a good squad judging by how we have started the season. There is a lot of belief in the squad and everyone is working hard. We are starting away and that is an advantage of sorts. If we can get a good result, we will win it here at home,” the striker stated.

Gor are facing USM Alger for the second time, having played them in the group stages of the 2018 CAF Confederation Cup, drawing 0-0 in Nairobi and losing 2-1 in Algiers.

One player who was present at that time is new captain Kenneth Muguna who believes they know how to go around the North Africans.

“They are a tough team but if we can take our chances, I believe we stand a good chance. That is what failed us when we played them last year and I am optimistic this time, we will be lucky enough,” the on-form Muguna added.

Fixtures

14.09.2019 Alger JS Kabylie (Algeria) vs Horoya (Guinea)

14.09.2019 Malabo Cano Sport (Eq. Guinea) vs Al Ahly (Egypt)

14.09.2019 Thies Generation Foot (Senegal) vs Zamalek

14.09.2019 Luanda Petro (Angola) vs KCCA (Uganda)

14.09.2019 Victoria Cote d’Or (Seychelles) vs Sundowns (South Africa)

14.09.2019 Dar Yanga (Tanzania) vs Zesco (Zambia)

14.09.2019 Bulawayo FC Platinum (Zimbabwe) vs Songo (Mozambique)

14.09.2019 Lusaka Green Eagles (Zambia) vs Primeiro de Agosto (Angola)

15.09.2019 Lome ASCK (Togo) vs AS Vita (DR Congo)

15.09.2019 Aba Enyimba (Nigeria) vs El Hilal (Sudan)

15.09.2019 Blida USMA (Algeria) vs Gor Mahia (Kenya)

15.09.2019 Kumasi Kotoko (Ghana) vs Etoile du Sahel (Tunisia)

15.09.2019 Nouakchott Nouadhibou (Mauritania) vs Wydad (Morocco)

15.09.2019 Ndjamena Elect Sport (Chad) vs Esperance (Tunisia)

15.09.2019 Mahajanga Fosa (Madagascar) vs TP Mazembe (DR Congo)

*15.09.2019 Cairo El Nasr (Libya) vs Raja (Morocco)

*Match will be played in Cairo (Egypt)