KPL Countdown: Can Homeboyz ambition lead to glory?
- In February this year, former Harambee Stars international Nicholas Muyoti took over the coaching mantle at Kakamega Homeboyz from player cum coach Allan Wetende Wanga who was for a month doubling superbly
- He was given a clear target of finishing within the five top teams in the 18-team Kenyan Premier League (KPL), by an ever demanding club chairman Cleophas Shimanyula
Analysis, Jacob Icia
In February this year, former Harambee Stars international Nicholas Muyoti took over the coaching mantle at Kakamega Homeboyz from player cum coach Allan Wetende Wanga who was for a month doubling superbly.
He was given a clear target of finishing within the five top teams in the 18-team Kenyan Premier League (KPL), by an ever demanding club chairman Cleophas Shimanyula.
Muyoti knew the task was not easy, especially in a club where his main predecessor Paul Nkata had been sacked on match fixing allegations. Players were said to have been involved, and investigations were still being conducted as he embarked on marching ahead.
The storm finally weathered, and he only missed the season target by two spots, finishing seventh with 52 points from 14 wins, 10 draws and 10 losses.
Summarising the 2018/19 campaign, the former AFC Leopards and Thika United said the midseason transation derailed the Kakamega County Government sponsored team from hitting their target.
“The main challenge was depth, and I had no reliable replacements for the first team players when they were not available for various reasons. The season was short hence fixtures congestion that required good depth that we lacked.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t sign any player until the end of the season, so improving the previous season’s performance having joined midway was quite a result although I was disappointed we never achieved the top-five objective,” told Muyoti.
He is now comfortable the gap is bridged, and can dare dream to fight for the title although Shimanyula has not officially spoken of the least that he wants in the 2019/20 season.
“We have signed good players who can help me fully execute my preferred attacking approach. I want to improve on last season’s show by at least finishing among the first five teams, not ommiting the chance of lifting the title.”
Muyoti wants more goals underlining a significant increase per match will be the turning point to the projected shoot on the log.
“Our goal average was one in a match, because we didn’t have many goalless draws. That was a good performance because we scored at least a goal in almost every match, but I believe going forward we can only get better having brought more attacking midfielders, an area we were deficient in last season” he exuded.
Notably, Homeboyz laid off nine in the preseason, roping in 10 including experienced former Tusker FC attacker Noah ‘Fuso’ Wafula and his trusted servant then at the now FKF Division One side Thika United, Shami Mwinyi.
Ronald Omino, Stephen Etyang, Christopher Masinza, Charles Okiya, Vincent Mahiga, Kevin Omondi, Stephen Wakhanya and Dennis Nandwa complete the newly assembled arsenal.
Etyang, the new member from Nzoia Sugar believes the team has the right blend to shake the familiar KPL title contenders.
“For me to play for Homeboyz is a career growth. There are quality players here who can propel me to achieve my personal dreams. I believe there is much to achieve this season, as a team and as an individual,” an optimistic Etyang offered.
David Juma, the side’s captain who has served the club since 2016, hopes the distractions of last season will not recur as they embark on a journey to more glory.
“We were dissuaded by a few things here and there especially at the beginning and before we regained our mojo much had been lost. Most of the influential members of the team are still here so with the strategic additions I believe we’re stronger,” the skipper opined.
Daniel Sakari, Maxwell Ravel, Osborne Monday, Masakidi Mata, Hassan Kikoyo, Ndung’u Samuel, Lavatsa Edwin, Idah Sosthenes and Kulecho Andrew were considered surplus in Muyoti’s squad and released.
One to watch: Allan Wanga
Wanga remains the man to watch in the Homeboyz team, for many reasons beyond his characteristic goal prolificacy.
The County Director of Sports Kakamega and declared Football Kenya Federation (FKF) president aspirant has no more national team responsibilities after retirement in July.
He can thus concentrate on banging goals for the side he contributed 17 out of of the total 47 last season, as he readies to leave the pitch for football administration.
The evergreen Wanga has not shown signs of weariness on the pitch, only bigger dreams are pushing him out and would love to sign out in style.
“For 12 years I have had the singular privilege and great honour to represent my country on the football pitch. It’s now time for me to pave way for other players who will embody the spirit of Harambee, as I trust I did. I will now dedicate my time to my county and my club,” said Wanga as he bowed out International football.
With his coach revealing his hunger for more goals, the widely travelled Wanga should be on the forefront in executing the mandate he has perfected over a decade in the KPL.
Can he still challenge for the Golden Boot? Yes he can, if all factors remain constant, or change slightly in the KPL arena which is a common pattern.
Club Name: Kakamega Homeboyz
Year Founded: 2010
Homeground: Bukhungu Stadium Kakamega.
Head Coach: Nicholas Muyoti
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