Will cash-strapped Sofapaka be ready for the 2016 season?

By alex wafula
Jan 06, 2022
  • The money appears to have dried up at Sofapaka and players have left after the bulk of their 2015 salaries were unpaid.

  • Zedekiah Otieno strengthening Posta Rangers ahead of the new season. He formerly coached Sony Sugar.

Sofapaka, the 2009 Kenyan Premier League champions are in danger of collapsing.

With slightly over a month before the new season begins, the side has been hit by a player exodus.  Almost the entire starting eleven has left the club, some after their contracts expired while others left because a substantial amount of their  2015 salaries remains unpaid.

A spot check by Sports News Arena estabished some players are owed up to eight months salary arrears.

Sam Timbe, their former coach has reported the club to FIFA over unpaid dues amounting to Sh2 million while Johnson Bagoole, a former player has written to KPL asking them to intervene so as to get his salary arrears amounting to Sh1.9 million.

The club has lost many of its first team players. Three players have signed with Tusker FC. They are David Okello (goal keeper), Collins Shivachi (defender) and Antony Ekaliani Ndolo (midfielder).

Felly Mulumba has joined Bandari FC, Willis Ouma has rejoined Chemelil Sugar with youngster Erastus Mwaniki heading the same way. Bagoole and Herman Wasswa have terminated their contracts while Maurice Odipo did not renew his.

“We also don’t know what is going on. There are very many players who have left and definitely next season will be tough. We have not been communicated as to when training starts but from what I hear, there was supposed to be a meeting and after that a communication,” one of the players who sought anonymity said.

Elly Kalekwa, the club chairman  and David Ouma (coach) did not answer their phones when contacted by Sport News Arena.

In a past interview, Kalekwa acknowledged the team was facing financial difficulties and had welcomed investors.

Won Premier League

The current situation is a big contrast with the Batoto ba Mungu who entered the Kenyan football circles with a bang spending freely which earned them the tag ‘moneybags’. Sofapaka won the Premier League title on their first attempt.

There has been a change of fortunes and the concluded 2015 season was their worst. Kalekwa who was previously a must-see figure whenever Sofapaka played was absent in 2015.

With all the departures and more expected, David Ouma has a huge restructuring task.

Meanwhile, having waded in relegation waters for most of the 2015 season, Chemelil Sugar are unwilling to dance in the same pool in 2016.

The side is set to resume training on Thursday morning and coach Francis Baraza has dipped into the transfer market and picked out several experienced players.

Apart from the Sofapaka duo of Ouma and Mwaniki, Baraza has brought on board former Tusker FC and Ushuru goalkeeper Samwel Odhiambo, experienced midfielder Hillary Echesa, Victor Majid from KCB as well as Ugandan defender Harris Kajjubi from Sadolin FC.

Baraza also enlisted the services of three youngsters fresh from completing their O-Level education. They are Joseph Okumu and Apollo Otieno both from Kakamega High School and Jaffery Owiti from Mukumu High School.

“We needed to have a good blend of youth and experience so that we compete well next season. We saw the shortcomings and what we need to do. This season we can’t afford to play around the relegation zone,” Baraza stated.

Mururi joins Kakamega Homeboyz

Meanwhile, former Chemelil coach Mike Mururi has joined recently promoted Kakamega Homeboyz. Mururi had been without a club since leaving Chemelil towards the end of last season.

Fellow promoted side Posta Rangers meanwhile continue to strengthen for the new season. They have added Titus Achesa from Nakuru All Stars.

Zedekiah Otieno had already signed experienced defender Jockins Atudo from Tusker FC, Simon Mbugua and Levis Opiyo from Thika United and Timothy Otieno from Gor Mahia.