City Stars loss a reality check for Shabana
National Super League title hopefuls Shabana FC could wait longer to realize promotion to the Kenya Premier League if the outcome of their 2019/20 season opener against Nairobi City Stars is anything to go by.
The loss was the result of a poor preseason, financial constraints and a massive exit of players majority of whom were suspended by the club over indiscipline towards the end of last season.
To many, this was not a surprise as the never-ending wrangles between its administration and the fan base as well as the absence of a reliable sponsor meant the team turned up for preseason late.
As things stand, the team does not have an official sponsor something that has taken a huge toll on its operations as many players have gone without their salaries for a while.
Also, there a difference in opinion between the club leadership and the fan base on how the team should be managed.
Club chairman Jared Niverton has always maintained he is sustaining the club from his pockets since their potential sponsorship with a betting company failed to materialize.
However, the fans feel the financial nightmares could be put to rest if the club was to be community-owned; a scenario that could pave the way for potential sponsorship from the county government.
The Kisii county government has been categorical on its pledge to support the club and compelled its administration to meet constitutional requirements before such a move materializes.
Among the conditions, the club should produce an original certificate of registration for Shabana as a community club. The county government says in the current state, it is hard to make any financial commitments to the team as it is deemed to be privately owned despite the general view of community ownership.
Other declarations that the club management needs to produce are the books of account, the list of club officials among many others.
Kisii county Sports minister Duke Mainga says these requirements are to uphold the Public Finance Management.
“The Public Finance Management Act guides on Appropriation of funds going towards supporting talents across the County. It also stipulates the consequences of going against the set guidelines.” He asserted.
The fans have relentlessly pushed that the administration meets the above requirements to suffice for a sponsor war chest from the Kisii county government all but in vain much to their bewilderment.
The Annual General Meeting that was meant to take during the preseason to address the niggling issues regarding the outfit’s welfare was never held.
In his assessment of their first NSL outing, club assistant coach Vincent Nyaberi attributed their 2-0 loss to Nairobi City Stars to poor planning.
The team left Kisii for Nairobi on Saturday 8.00pm and alighted at 5.00am on Sunday meaning the players had little time to recover from the fatigue of overnight travel before their afternoon game on the same day.
“The boys played well but they were undone by the fact that they had to travel at night so they were fatigued going into the game.
“We also had issues with the registration as the cards were not released on time.” He lamented.
Despite the club boasting a hugely talented squad, Mr. Nyaberi feels poor planning will eat ambition out of one of the biggest community clubs in the country.
“We have the quality in terms of players and coaching staff but we started our preseason late something I feel has held us back.
“Generally, we were poor in terms of planning compared to our opponents who had everything in order. Had we traveled early I feel we could have played better. Am confident we could have won.” He reckoned.
He has urged the management to put their act together if there are to mount a serious NSL title challenge.
“The management should put the house in order if we are make the most of the talents in the team.” He appealed.
Before these nagging issues are ironed out by the club’s leadership a KPL promotion bid could turn out to be a mirage.
NSL 2019/20 Match Day 1 Summary
Ushuru 1-0 St. Joseph’s Youth (Ruaraka Sports Club)
Northern Wanderers 0-8 Nairobi Stima (Camp Toyoyo)
Muranga Seal 1-0 Kibera Black Stars (Thika Stadium)
Nairobi City Stars 2-0 Shabana (Hope Center)
Bidco United 3-0 Mt. Kenya United (Thika Stadium)
FC Talanta 3-1 Vihiga Bullets (Camp Toyoyo)
Vihiga United 3-1 Migori Youth (Mumias Complex)
Coast Stima 2-0 Fortune Sacco (Walkover)
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