United Sofapaka out to pull off a ‘Leicester City’ in KPL


Humprey Okoti (R) of Sofapaka FC celebrates with coach Sam Ssimbwa after scoring the winner ...
Humprey Okoti (R) of Sofapaka FC celebrates with coach Sam Ssimbwa after scoring the winner against Mathare United FC during their Kenyan Premier League match at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on April 02, 2017. Sofapaka FC won 2-1. Photo/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

Sofapaka FC team manager Willis Waliaula has declared the team is out to chase a title-winning dream run akin to that of English champions Leicester City after starting the season strongly following their narrow escape from relegation last season.

Waliaula hailed unity in the squad as the reason behind the team’s resurgence in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) with Batoto ba Mungu lying third on six points, one adrift from the summit having won their last two games against Western Stima (3-1) and Mathare United (2-1) last weekend.

This is after they only won the right to play in the 2017 KPL following their successful appeal against relegation to the second-tier National Super League (NSL) by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) at the Sports Dispute Tribunal.

The 2009 champions are in good stead to challenge for the crown once more after receiving a massive sponsorship boost from a local betting firm last week that guarantees their financial health.

“We live like a family from the President, the Head Coach, the technical bench and the players.

“Its where our unity comes from because this club has been through a lot of challenges; from the relegation battle last year to the club licensing saga but  we managed to pull through and  that’s what makes a family united,” Waliaula stressed.

Sofapaka staged a magical escape from relegation on a dramatic final day that saw them pull off a 5-1 win over Thika United coupled with a 3-1 defeat of direct rivals Ushuru FC by Posta Rangers to survive.

Their struggles last season were attributed to the crippling financial constraints and the former glamour club was on the verge of being forced down to the NSL for failing to prove their ability to honour their obligations to players and fixtures.

In November last year, Sofapaka chairman Elly Kalekwa confirmed the appointment of  former coach Ugandan Sam ‘The Prince’ Ssimbwa on a two-year contract and retained  former international John Baraza as the team’s assistant coach and the fruits of their hard work is now beginning to be seen .

“The head coach is well experienced and a very humble man he makes everyone around him very comfortable he never looks down upon anyone irrespective of age or the position someone holds at the club. This makes everyone happy and they work hard to make him proud,” the Sofapaka team manager added.

Having survived the relegation battle last year Waliaula believes Sofapaka can pull off an English Premier League champions Leicester fairy tale by clinching the 2017 crown.

“I have worked at the same capacity at different clubs and even in the national team and wherever there is unity, success has always followed. What we have at Sofapaka is recipe for success and opponents need to watch out.

“So far everything is in order everyone is motivated especially with a new sponsor on board,” Waliaula insisted.

“We know there giants in the league but we can do what Leicester last year having struggled the previous year  ,as a team only titles can count for a successful season” the Sofapaka official added.

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Story By John Kyanda
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