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
Manchester United shirts with Alexis Sanchez on back already being printed at Adidas store

Manchester United shirts with Alexis Sanchez on back already being printed at Adidas store

Wenger confirms ‘close’ Sanchez-Man United deal as Adidas begin printing number 7 shirt

Alexis Sanchez's transfer from Arsenal to Manchester United is all but confirmed.

Neymar booed despite racking four goals in PSG win

PSG fans booed Neymar despite scoring four goals taking his tally to 24 and setting up two goals

Arsenal in 'distress' as Dortmund now refuses to release Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang must wait to make hismove to Arsenal after he was included in Borussia Dortmund’s squad.

Ronaldinho pens emotional message on his retirement as Messi, Beckham and co pay tribute to him

Ronaldinho Gaucho announced his retirement from football on Tuesday when his brother Roberto Assis went public about it

Espanyol ends Barcelona's unbeaten run

Barcelona's unbeaten run was on Wednesday ended by a late derby goal by Espanyol

More Stories
Manchester United shirts with Alexis Sanchez on back already being printed at Adidas store

Manchester United shirts with Alexis Sanchez on back already being printed at Adidas store

Neymar booed despite racking four goals in PSG win

PSG fans booed Neymar despite scoring four goals taking his tally to 24 and setting up two goals

Espanyol ends Barcelona's unbeaten run

Barcelona's unbeaten run was on Wednesday ended by a late derby goal by Espanyol

Thika United host AFC Leopards in a pre-season friendly

AFC Leopards to play hosts Thika United in a pre-season friendly on Saturday 20

Wenger labelled referee a ‘disgrace and dishonest,’ FA reveals

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said referee Mike Dean was “a disgrace” and “not honest” following December’s Premier Leag

United star believes catching City possible

Manchester United star believes they can still hunt down leaders City

Chelsea edge Norwich City on penalties as drama surfaces in the extra minutes of the game

Chelsea needed a penalty shoot-out before finally killing off Norwich after a 1-1 draw in Wednesday's FA Cup third round

Sofapaka gets lifeline from Betika

Sofapaka gets lifeline from Betika

Japanese star seeks next Wanyama

Former AC Milan attacking midfielder Honda to launch talent search programme

Theo Walcott completes £20million Premier League switch after 12-year spell at Arsenal

Theo Walcott completes £20million Premier League switch after 12-year spell at Arsenal