Tag Archives: KPL

NAKUMATT’S FINANCIAL TROUBLES CONTINUE TO SPILL INTO THE FIELD

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!!)

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OF BAD BOYS AND EYEBROW RAISING TRANSFERS

Did you catch the Supercup derby last Sunday? Well, I did (on TV of course) and it was a hoot! It was right after church (where, btw, I am a Sunday School teacher), I had eaten, taken a nap, and I was more than ready for it. Down here, we call it the Mashemeji Derby, and every time these two teams meet, there’s bound to be fireworks for fans and players alike!

Can you believe these two teams have met 97 times, including last week’s match? Amazing!!

I was kind of jealous of the people who had made it to Afraha Stadium to watch the game. It felt like the teams and their fans were part of something familial and I was just an outsider looking in. This is perhaps one of the greatest and longest football feuds in our nation, and it sucks not feeling connected to the history of these two amazing teams!! 😦

Anyway, enough of the melodrama! Let me get right into it. It was a spectacular game with Gor looking stronger from the onset, in my point of view, and it was kind of disappointing that there weren’t as many goals as you would want in such an exciting clash! What did catch my attention, though, was the roughness of the game. This game was so intense and the referee had to make some tough calls throughout the game, including giving one ‘Gattuso’, a yellow card in like the first 15 minutes of the encounter.

I was struck by how aggressive he could be, but hey, he’s a midfielder, it’s bound to happen. What caught me off-guard is what the commentators said once he was shown the yellow. Their comments went along the lines of, ‘oh, this is normal, he’ll probably end up with a red, most probably won’t last the entire game’…(they were speaking in Swahili by the way just in case you were wondering). Shots fired!!

Gattuso is a skilled midfielder, with a stellar football career that has spanned more than five years. Having played for Gor Mahia, Sofapaka, and Tusker FC in the past, he has gained a reputation for being combative (in and out of the field) and an individual who is not squeamish about putting his body on the line in order to get the much-needed results for his team. He gets the job done……when, and if, he decides to show up.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a bad boy as much as the next girl, and his antiques over the years, especially while he was in Gor, were definitely newsworthy. From arriving late for training, missing training sessions, going missing completely from training camps, to numerous fines, and fights, and social media rants, this midfielder has earned a place on the list of  Kenyan football bad-asses!!

Which is why I was sort of surprised to hear about his recent transfer to ‘The Den’, Gor Mahia’s main rival. I mean, doesn’t AFC Leopards have enough problems to deal with at the moment without having to add a temperamental, headstrong bad boy with a penchant for flouting team rules on to its worry list? And, doesn’t the coach know that bad boys equal heartbreaks? Take it from me, I am a girl, I know these things!

The Leopards could possibly be on the brink of financial collapse and the last thing the team needs is indiscipline or even a hint of it amongst its ranks. Otherwise, their entire 2018 campaign is in jeopardy.

But, who knows, Gattuso could be exactly what they need right now in these dark financial times. Drama, passion, action, and heat follow this man wherever he goes and he could be a critical ingredient to one of their most fierce cup challenges yet. This could be the home he has been looking for, and with proper management, Ingwe could be looking at their next midfield talisman. Only time will tell!!

Good luck to both team and player!