The 2017 Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) 2017 Footballer of the Year Meddie Kagere has expressed his admiration for Kariobangi Sharks forward Masoud Juma, whom he beat to the prestigious prize.
Kagere had been nominated for the award alongside the Kariobangi Sharks forward and teammate George ‘Blackberry’ Odhiambo but eventually emerged the winner, with Masoud taking home the Golden Boot while Blackberry scooped the Midfielder of The Year Award.
Asked about Masoud Juma, Kagere revealed that he initially did not know the striker but has of late become an admirer.
“As the 2017 league started, I did not know a thing about Masoud Juma because his team (Kariobangi Sharks) has just been promoted to top flight football,” he said.
“But after a few months, the lad started scoring goals and that is when I got to know him though through my teammates who played with him in the Kenyan national team. It then came a time when he (Masoud) started scoring goals in every match and that prompted me to start following him closely and could even watch his matches when I am at home to try and figure out what makes him so special.
“Even when a player is in the opposing team and he is good, you have to appreciate and give credit, not to hate and feel jealous. So I will continue following him and in doing so, I can single out one or two things that will also help me in becoming a better player.
On his win….
The 30-year old dedicated his victory to his Gor Mahia teammates for the support, stating that the award comes through nothing but hard work.
“Hard work really pains but pays,” was his first statement.
“So this award comes is a testimony for all the tough work that I have putt in this season, which I really pushed myself to do the best. It comes with the support of all my teammates who have been with me through this journey and also the Gor Mahia office for a job well done. Most of all, I thank the Almighty God for this,” said Kagere.
On being a non-local…
The Rwandan also commented on the pressure that accompanies playing in the Kenyan Premier League if you are a foreigner.
“One thing that is certain is that if you are a foreigner here in Kenya, people expect you to be better than the local players because. They assume that you have been brought to Nairobi because you so good and therefore you must work extra hard to prove yourself,” he stated.