Former footballers scoring big with new taxi business

Wazee Wa Kazi FC retired legends from Nakuru Town who have ventured in transport business pose for a group photo shortly before they played Bunge FC in a friendly match at Afraha Stadium over the weekend. They won 4-0.

Most retired footballers end up as coaches, team managers, match commissars or sports administrators in extending their stay in the football profession.

Thereafter, successful ones try their luck in politics or business.

Examples include former sports minister the late Kenneth Matiba, former Kenya Football Federation chairmen the late Joab Omino and Clement Gachanja as well as former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the Liberia President George Weah, who at one time was the world footballer of the year.

Extending their stay in the profession in most cases gives them the opportunity to mould young talents to be relevant in the lucrative multibillion-dollar industry.

However, not all retired players can manage to excel in some professions. Some end up living in abject poverty due to lack of career progression while others become drug addicts.

In Nakuru, however, a group of retired footballers have taken a different path - engaging in social football while investing.

Standards of living

Wazee Wa Kazi FC footballers are now the newest investors in Nakuru town and its environs - a move aimed at uplifting their standards of living. Their mission is to save their meagre earnings and invest in the business as they engage in social football.

Though some are still in employment, the group of 30 has invested in the transport sector through Sh1,000 monthly contribution. After months of saving, they raised at least Sh300,000  which gave them the audacity to approach Metropolitan Savings and Cooperative Society for a car loan of between Sh500,000 to Sh1 million.

Wazee Wa Kazi imported a Suzuki Vitara with the assistance of the Sacco that has been incorporated into the Wasili Taxi Services Ltd fleet in the town.

Though still new, it’s catching on fast because of its relatively cheaper charges. “The demand for our services is higher than the supply and we’ll do all within our means to increase our fleet of vehicles,” said the group’s coordinator Peter Kamau.

According to Kamau, they are set to earn at least Sh10,000 weekly, which translates to about Sh40,000 monthly. The earnings will be banked in the group’s account at a local lender.

“Even with this kind of money banked into weekly, our monthly contributions to service our bank loan will still continue,” he said.

Kamau said the venture will enable retired legends to sort out emergencies rather than relying on the State. “Come next year, almost at the same time, we’ll have another new vehicle to add on to the existing one as an annual commitment to increase our fleet,” he said.

Their services are modelled around that of taxi-hailing app Uber and their rates are affordable to most residents. For instance, in areas like from the Central Business District to Racetrack or Langa Langa Estates where a normal taxi will charge a customer a flat rate of Sh300, Wasii Taxi Services charge between Sh100 and Sh150.

Asked whether their aim is to drive out boda-boda riders, tuk-tuks and normal taxis out of business, Kamau said: “You do not expect to make profits in any business environment which is not competitive.”

“Stiff competition makes services efficient and that is all that a customer needs.” He said the proceeds will also assist in the club’s operations.