No looking back for Sofapaka: On-the-comeback-trail squad remains confident

Sofapaka nowadays breathe with ease

Coaches happy with progress despite smarting from financial hitches.

Sofapaka FC players, Jafar Gichuki in action against Tusker on

 

At this time last season, Sofapaka were at the bottom of the Kenyan Premier League table and all indications were that the 2009 champions were headed for relegation.

The club president, Elly Kalekwa, had shifted base to Uganda at a time when the players’ morale was at its lowest ebb while the technical bench seemed clueless.

Add to that the fact that Batoto ba Mungu had no sponsor after Blue Triangle opted not to renew its partnership with the club.

“Things were bad. But we kept the faith. We would encourage each other,” says John Baraza, the assistant coach who engineered the club’s late revival and ultimate survival in the league.

But Sofapaka seem to be getting back their groove this season. They may not be the favourites to win the league but their performance at the moment is clear testimony that there is some semblance of stability.

“All we needed was to have some financial injection into the team and thanks to our prayers, we now have a sponsor,” said head coach Sam Ssimbwa.

“I said if we can ensure the players get to the pitch without fear of going without salaries and allowances, we would perform well in the league and that is what is happening now. We have a sponsor (Betika), whose sponsorship is now catering for players’ salaries and allowances,” he added.

So far, Sofapaka have amassed 18 points and lie sixth on the log after five wins and three draws.

Ssimbwa, who coached Sofapaka in 2010 before parting ways with the club in less than a year, says he is back to accomplish what he failed to do when he replaced Robert Matano.

The Ugandan arrived when Sofapaka was at their best, having won the league title in 2009. However, the club has since then faced challenges.

Several top players left the club due to financial problems. Ssimbwa has promised to ensure that Sofapaka regain their lost glory.

The coach has managed to turn around the club’s fortunes despite limited resources in terms of players. They now find it easier to take on teams that offered a stiff challenge last season, Ssimbwa said.

Last weekend they beat Chemelil by a solitary goal, just days after they lost by a similar margin to Ulinzi Stars.

They have also registered wins against AFC Leopards, Zoo Kericho, and Mathare United and held defending champions Tusker.

“So far I am happy with our performance,” said Ssimwa.

 

Next Story
LATEST STORIES
Neymar cleared in tax evasion case, father says

Barcelona striker Neymar has been cleared of any criminal charges in a long-running tax evasion case in Brazil, the player's father said on Wednesday.

Kenya presents youngest marathon squad for London Worlds on Sunday next week

Three Kenyan marathoners aged between 24 and 25 years will take on the world next Sunday at 12:55pm Kenyan time as they strive to win back the world title.

Teams gear up for Governor's Cup finals

The finals for the Nairobi Governor’s Cup football tournament are scheduled for this Sunday at City Stadium.

Wanja is back, ready to serve off

Three months of constant persuasion and personal reflection are some of the issues that saw Janet Wanja come out of retirement.

Prize money goes up in Standard Chartered 21km race

Competitors in this year’s Standard Chartered Nairobi 21km marathon have every reason to smile after the prize money was revised upwards.

Leopards claw Bidco United

AFC Leopards secured their GOtv Shield Cup quarter final ticket after seeing off National Super League side Bidco United 2-1 at Thika Sub-county stadium yesterday.

More Stories
Neymar cleared in tax evasion case, father says

Barcelona striker Neymar has been cleared of any criminal charges in a long-running tax evasion case in Brazil, the player's father said on Wednesday.

Teams gear up for Governor's Cup finals

The finals for the Nairobi Governor’s Cup football tournament are scheduled for this Sunday at City Stadium.

Leopards claw Bidco United

AFC Leopards secured their GOtv Shield Cup quarter final ticket after seeing off National Super League side Bidco United 2-1 at Thika Sub-county stadium yesterday.

No Real deal for Mbappe insist Monaco

Monaco said on Wednesday that no deal with Real Madrid has been reached for teenage French international striker Kylian Mbappe.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic immortalised in painting of Swedish banknote

Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has become the latest global cultural icon to be immortalised on the side of a banknote.

Neymar PSG switch doubts grow in Barcelona

Confusion surrounding the Neymar-Paris Saint-Germain transfer saga was rife in Barcelona on Wednesday, with the player staying silent on his future.

Harambee Stars coach speaks out after Europe trip

Okumbi: We picked valuable lessons from Spain

GOtv action: AFC seek quarters slot in Thika

AFC Leopards will be seeking to make it to the quarter-finals of the GOtv Shield when they tackle Bidco United at Camp Toyoyo Stadium today.

Manchester United sign new keeper

Manchester United have snapped up young goalkeeper Theo Richardson, report the Manchester Evening News.

United's Bailly banned for Super Cup against Real

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly will miss next month's European Super Cup against Real Madrid after UEFA handed the Ivorian a three-match European ban on Monday.