Sofapaka eye KPL title push after sponsorship deal
Sofapaka FC skipper George Maelo asserted they now have the right kind of ammunition to challenge for the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) title as the club announced a one-year sponsorship worth Ksh50m on Friday.
The team that won the league title in 2009 had starkly contrasting fortunes last season, magically escaping relegation on a dramatic final day that saw them pull off a 5-1 win over Thika United to survive.
Their struggles last season were attributed to crippling financial constraints at the Batoto ba Mungu and were on the verge of being forced down the lower National Super League (NSL) for failing to prove their financial capability to run their club affairs through to the close of the season.
But following their reinstatement by the Sports Disputes Tribunal which nullified Football Kenya Federation’s decision, Maelo believes they need to make quick amends to overturn their fortunes and return to the top.
“We are eyeing the league, that’s something we agreed on as players at the start of the season. There’s a good team in place and if we can bode well and enhance the team spirit then winning the league is an achievable feat.
“Last term during the mid-season, the team brought in several players as well as I who injected new energy in the squad thus enabling it to recoup 19 extra points that guaranteed our safety. Look at that sort of experience and the way we improved the tidings at the club. It’s with the same spirit that we will approach this season,” Maelo who signed from NSL side Police FC at a time when Sofapaka were languishing at the bottom of the KPL underscored.
He urged the squad to shift their focus on performing on the pitch with their financial challenges having been taken care of.
“Finances are in meaning that what remains is for the players to perform. We have to establish a winning formula, defend and attack well. This definitely improves our confidence keeping in mind that certain issues have been sorted,” he added.
In their latest KPL match, Sofapaka recovered from a 1-0 loss in their league opener to defeat hosts Western Stima 3-1 in Kisumu and go 10th in the KPL standings.
Meanwhile, Head Coach Sam Ssimbwa revealed that his charges will now be under pressure to perform.
“The sponsors will expect results from us having entrusted their funds on our club. Last time we were the last but I want to promise on behalf of my players and the technical bench that this time we are going to be real competitors.
“I won’t give an assurance about carrying home the trophy since as you know each team will be vying for the same feat. Anyway willing, am optimistic that we will emerge triumphant,” he said.
-Report by Mwangi Githinji.
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