Bullets skipper reflects on a tough journey to the NSL

Stephen Orare is a lad full of delight at his team’s recent promotion into the second tier NationaL Super League (NSL). A youthful central midfielder manning Edward Manoah’s Vihiga Bullets midfield, the field captain attributes their recent success to proper management from a technical bench that he terms experienced.

”There is no much difference between us and other teams, just the management and the technical bench is experienced from having been there at high levels of competition. The team too is young, our age is one level is one, and there is a lot of hard work,” he tells Soka.

The 18-year-old former Kapenguria Boys High School student has previously featured for Tusker FC Youth in the Nairobi Regional League and made a daring move at the start of this campaign to head to Western Kenya in search of another challenge. His journey, however, was halted in Nakuru when Ulinzi Stars showed interest in his abilities.

”At first, I was assessed by Ulinzi Stars during their trials at the start of the season. We impressed, me and a couple of other players, but their first team didn’t have enough space for us to be accommodated so were referred to Vihiga Bullets who were just starting their pre-season for the FKF Div 1,” he adds.

Bullets only suffered two losses in the entire season in the third tier [IMAGE- Fabian Odhiambo]

Alongside Hassan Ibrahim, Orare has had a great impact on the team, one he hoped he would help propel to the second tier the moment he stepped foot in Vihiga.

Bullets sit at the top of the Div One Zone B standings and earned promotion with two matches to spare. Their recent barren stalemate against Bondo United was a match to parade their more youthful players and they take on GFE 105 in the last. Promotion, however, for Orare and team, had to be worked for.

”It’s very competitive down here, there is no weak league in Kenya. So we worked very hard for it and I am glad we made it at the end,” he concludes.

Coach Manoah’s side only suffered two losses in the entire season in the third tier- one at home and one away. Falling 1-0 to Zoo Youth in Kericho was their only away loss while a shock 3-1 fall at home against Nzoia Transfoc blemished their perfect home run. Had they dispatched Transfoc, they would have earned promotion with three matches to spare.