Kevin Etemesi: From ordinary utility player to prolific striker now wanted by AFC Leopards

FKFPL Kevin Etemesi: From ordinary utility player to prolific striker now wanted by AFC Leopards

Mark Kinyanjui 12:34 - 15.07.2023

The Nairobi City Stars forward is currently in high demand after a stellar campaign having rose directly from Division One to the Premier League

Kevin Etemesi has had an unforgettable, albeit, unusual first season in the topflight of Kenyan football.

For starters, the Nairobi City Stars attacker was signed as a utility player who could play across all positions in the front line as Nicholas Muyoti sought to rebuild his team after most of the side that helped them finish fifth in their first season back in the topflight was decimated after a number of stars left for greener pastures. 

He has just ended the season as a player who has now settled into the centre forward position. The second unforgettable thing is that, although he ended the season in the top five of the best goalscorers in the league, he had to wait until the second leg to start firing.

The other thing is that, of his 12 goals, 10 have been braces in five different matches, against Mathare United, Posta Rangers, Vihiga Bullets, AFC Leopards and FC Talanta.

The man himself has described the season as ‘tricky’ and ‘not easy’, but a good experience.

“It has been quite tricky, I cannot say it has been easy, but I have trained hard and basically put my best foot forward and the goals have come," he told Pulse Sports.

“Before my run of scoring goals started, I used to sit on the bench because Odera (Ezekiel) was ahead of me in the pecking order. When he got injured, I got my chance.”

The former Kangemi All Stars man signed straight from Division One and has never even kicked a ball in the second-tier National Super League, so it is understandable why it took him a while to adapt to the unforgiving Premier League.

However, the fact that the 21-year-old was not an out-and-out striker before joining is very impressive, considering the way he has taken to that position like a duck to water.

“I am not actually a winger. I was more of a utility player when I came into the team, as I could play across all positions even at Kangemi," he added. 

“I now see my future over there. I am more of a false nine because I have the freedom to drop deep and link up play. I feel very comfortable and happy playing there now and I do not see myself playing in another position.

“I feel like I have found my home there to the extent I am willing to grow into the position."

Of the five braces, Etemesi has his favourite. He describes the slaying of AFC Leopards at Nyayo National Stadium in June with his double which effectively secured their safety as his moment of the season.

“I enjoyed the AFC Leopards brace the most because we basically had to win at all costs to survive relegation. We were a goal down and then I equalised in the second half and then in the dying minutes of the game. It was an amazing feeling.”

Etemesi has naturally attracted interest from several clubs, including both Leopards and Gor Mahia, but he believes it is still too early to make a move as he feels “he has not achieved anything substantial yet” showing his clear desire to improve.

“I see myself staying at City Stars because there are things about my game I still need to work on. I do not think I have achieved anything substantial at the club yet.”

Should he keep his run going, a call up to the national team seems inevitable for the forward that Muyoti has described as 'undroppable' for his outfit.

“It is of course a dream to play for the national team. I will keep working hard till I get my chance.”