We had some mid-week afternoon action in the KPL with Mathare United (strong title contenders) taking on Nakumatt FC (a team that is so close to disappearing from the league, it is even shocking that they are still playing). Obviously, Mathare was the stronger team, and was expected to carry the game, which they did. What I didn’t expect was for Nakumatt to give them a run for their money. Impressed!
When it comes to spirit and fighting against all odds, this Nakumatt side has it down to a T. To give you a bit of perspective here, Nakumatt were the underdogs coming into this game not only because they are on the other end of the KPL table, but also because they have been facing serious financial hurdles especially this season.
This is a KPL team that does not have money for training, for salaries, and all the other expenses that a normal team in our league incurs within a season. Shocking! I know other KPL teams are struggling but Nakumatt’s case is just over the top in my opinion. And, it seems like this problem is not getting solved soon. Just last month it was announced that the club was up for sale, and I quote ‘…to anyone, including those who would like to change the club’s name!!!!’
For me this is scary (mainly because I’m an alarmist and I blow everything out of proportion). But seriously, what would new management for Nakumatt FC look like? What would be their prerogative when taking over the club? I, for one, would not like to see a money-hungry corporation take over and destroy the FABRIC of that team by selling some of their best players or eroding the culture the players have built around each other especially during this tough season.
I also would not want a company with a risky financial outlook to get their hands on the team. I know it is so difficult to get credible sponsors in the local football scene (something that needs to change btw), but I would not want the current management to just settle for any buyer. Like, please do a background check first, otherwise, the current team will keep bouncing from buyer to buyer, and that will have serious ramifications on their quality, their output, long-term careers, and their contribution (both individual and collective) to our local leagues.
To be honest, this is a riches to rags story in our local football scenery. There was a time when Nakumatt was considered one of the richest teams in Kenya. YES! Back when they could afford foreign coaches with names that sounded like a mixture of expensive chocolate and men designer wear, but whose faces, demeanor and body structure lacked the same exquisiteness. I’m talking about the time before Nakumatt had been upgraded to the KPL, and they were playing in the National Super League. That time we (just the media) used to refer to them as the ‘money bags’ team, and they were thrashing people left, right and center! Ai!
Sadly, those days are over, with the currently financially strapped Nakumatt only being able to manage one win this season, and their loss to Mathare this week continues to lower the morale of these boys. I don’t know for how long these guys can keep fighting, but, I’m proud of them regardless.
You can check out my other comments on the game here (and don’t forget to subscribe!!)