Bandari’s Nkata wary as injuries threaten debut season

Bandari FC players celebrate their goalkeeper Joseph Okoth's penalty save against Nakumatt FC during their ...
Bandari FC players celebrate their goalkeeper Joseph Okoth's penalty save against Nakumatt FC during their GOtv Shield match at the Safaricom Stadium Kasarani on July 29, 2016. Bandari FC won 2-1. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Stafford Ondego/
Ugandan Paul Nkata will begin his 2017 Kenyan Premier League campaign without three of his key players at Bandari FC as the title-winning Coach launches an assault for a third title in two years with his new club.
Nkata who won a double at Tusker FC before switching allegiances to the Coastal-based club at the close of last season will be forced to do without  winger Shaban Kenga, striker Edwin Lavatsa and midfielder Musa Mude after the trio sustained injuries during their pre-season build-up matches.
The Dockers host newly promoted Nakumatt FC when they start off their campaign on Saturday but Nkata lamented preparations have been hampered by injury blows and the intense coastal heat.
“The three are regular players in the team so we’re disappointed knowing we’ll miss their services. They bring a lot to the team so their absence will be greatly felt. These friendly matches have had positive and negative impacts to the players, but that’s part of football. You have to live with it,’’ Nkata told Citizen Digital.
The new KPL season – delayed by heated debates over its composition – is set to finally kick off next weekend with 16 teams.
With the top flight having already adopted the 18-team format following joint talks between Football Kenya Federation (FKF) and KPL, brokered by the Sports Disputes Tribunal, the other two sides to feature will be determined when the SDT rules on a case where Muhoroni Youth and Sofapaka FC are challenging their relegation to the National Super League.
Nkata expressed his relief at the release of the final 2017 league fixtures as it marked the end of the bruising supremacy battles between the local federation led by Nick Mwendwa and the league management.
With the Coastal region experiencing its hottest temperatures of the year, Nkata suggested the introduction of water breaks to save players from possible dehydration.
“What is left for us is to manage the fitness levels in the squad and hope we can avoid further injuries. With the current temperature of about 35 degrees celsius and a humidity of 70 percent we expect the players to be dehydrated and this is not good for football.
“It means we need to introduce water breaks   in both halves” added Nkata.
Bandari has played seven friendly matches in there preparation for the new season, winning three matches, drew two games and lost two,” the Ugandan stated. 
The Dockers ended their 2016 season with a sense of underachievement after finishing tenth to miss out on a place at the 2017 GOtv Shield Cup snatched from their grip by Nkata’s former club Tusker.
They have a decent run in their pre-season, losing only two of their last seven friendly matches and now – with Nkata in charge – look set for a promising 2017. 

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Story By Mkalla Wa Mwambodze
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