Ugandan midfielder, Jimmy Bagaye is the Sportpesa/Sports Journalists Association of Kenya (SJAK) player of the month for October after he almost single-handedly helped Nairobi City Stars escape relegation.
The former AFC Leopards winger scored both the solitary winning goals against KCB and Ushuru FC to guide his side to survival despite a 1-1 draw against Sony Sugar in the season finale.
With City Stars facing the drop had they lost their match against KCB in their league meeting on October 18, Bagaye’s quick feet saw him evade the scrambling feet of the Bankers’ defenders before guiding the ball into the bottom right corner past Sammy Okinda. The 72nd minute goal proved the winner and gave City Stars momentum going into their next match against Ushuru.
Bagaye once again made the difference against the Taxman as, despite his diminutive frame, he headed home another winner after 72 minutes in a 1-0 success. With KCB losing 2-0 against visiting Ulinzi Stars, on the same matchday, a one-all draw for City Stars against Sony proved inconsequential as the Bankers fell two points shy and joined Nakuru All Stars in relegation.
Bageya beat on form Gor Mahia striker Michael Olunga by a single ballot in a run-off poll after the duo had tied on 16 points from the first round of voting.
Besides Bageya and Olunga, other nominees for the October gong included enterprising Bandari forward David King’atua, combative Gor Mahia midfielder Khalid Aucho, AFC Leopards midfield gem Bernard Mang’oli and Ebrimah Sanneh of City Stars.
Mang’oli, Sanneh and Aucho then fell of the running after thorough scrutiny of their contributions in October leaving King’atua, Olunga and Bageya in the ballot. Olunga and Bageya emerged joint top on 16 points with Kingatua garnering 10 points, hence the run-off poll which went Bageya’s way.
Bagaye’s award comes with a 43′ LG TV, Kshs. 50,000 and a personalized trophy. Gor Mahia forward Meddie Kagere was the September winner.
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