Who is this man Paul Nkata, the latest KPL king?
Just who is this man Paul Nkata? Ardent followers of the Kenyan Premier League (KPL) have been singing his praises from the rooftops since Sunday when the Ugandan led local giants Tusker FC to their first ever domestic double.
Nkata led the Brewer to end Gor Mahia’s three-year stranglehold on the KPL trophy, crushing their bid to be the first team in the Kenyan club football history to retain it for four seasons running to add to the GOtv Shield they won last month.
Before the title win Nkata was viewed as just another average-rated manager from across the border and few believed he had credentials to lead the Brewers to their first league title since 2012.
Since Nkata took charge of Tusker FC at the end of the 2015 KPL season after former Harambee Stars head coach, Francis Kimanzi was compelled to step aside; he declares he was on a mission.
Noting the growing prominence of the KPL, Nkata needed a bigger team than Muhoroni Youth FC whom he led to their highest ever finish of fourth to prove his talent after switching from his native Ugandan Premier League with his coaching career coming a long way.
Nkata started his trade at Sport Club Villa, immediately after hanging his boots as a player in 2000. He rose through the ranks before graduating to the senior side in 2008 as an Assistant Coach.
“I started coaching the junior sides -Under 14 and Under 16s- and after doing well I was promoted to the senior team. I later took over as the head coach of SC Villa,” Nkata says.
However, he was not to last in that club for long, because after one season he was snatched by the Uganda Revenue Authority FC (URA FC) who had qualified in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League in 2012.
His two and a half deal at URA FC saw him win the Uganda Cup and finish third in the league in 2013.
However he was relieved off duties in mid-2014 and it took him a few months out in the cold until last year when he chose to try out the KPL.
Nkata took charge of the now relegated Nairobi City Stars but after barely six months he walked out in the midst of the financial crunch that has crippled the ambitions of the Kawangware-based side and pitched camp at Muhoroni.
“I didn’t stay for long at City Stars, because the Muhoroni Project was better, and I have always looked for a better challenge in life. So I moved before my one year contract was over,” he reiterated.
Nkata brought some swagger into Muhoroni’s play famously defeating Gor in the GOtv Shield to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.
However, a thing that has been so characteristic of him in his coaching career is the fact that he has barely spent more than two seasons at a single club since he left SC Villa in Uganda.
He once again left prematurely and signed with Tusker towards the end of 2015.
“I wanted to leave Muhoroni in style. We had an amazing run of 14 unbeaten matches in the second leg of the season, and a good run in the GOtv Shield. So I didn’t want to leave in disrespect,” the ambitious coach underscored.
At Tusker, he met a club that matched his motivation and one that was eager to get back to the top of the KPL after witnessing Gor dominate the league.
And after just a season, he has done it; restored Tusker as champions and brought home the Premier League trophy to Ruaraka.
Nkata is out to sign off with victory over Gor to rubberstamp their billing as the new KPL sheriff in town on the final day on November 19.
The Ugandan can look forward to another CAF Champions League campaign next season unless an even bigger team comes knocking on his door and prise him away from Tusker.
-Report by Alex Kinyua
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