It has taken KCB Bank close to a decade to build a formidable force in football that now plies trade at the ongoing 36 edition of the Kenya Institute of Bankers (KIB) Interbank Sports in Nairobi.
The squad has been rejuvenated this year with the presence of 11 prolific players who were selected from a rigorous exercise held by the bankers at their eight regional clusters around the country.
Among the charges leading KCB in football at the games are former Mathare United FC midfielder Eric Oketch and former Gor Mahia FC goalkeeper Sammy Okinda. Oketch, who captains the side, says they are not ready for another humiliating round this season after going down 4-1 to a ruthless Equity Bank in the 2019 final.
“We have struggled to build a good team since 2013. We started to see good results in 2017 when made it to the semis and finished fourth,” said Oketch.
“In 2018, we were third and in 2019 we sailed to the final. This has been our best ever performance in these games.”
The former Tusker Youth team midfielder said they had a good chance of lifting the elusive and coveted football trophy three years ago, but lack of exposure and immaturity cost the squad in the final against Equity Bank.
“The cup was near yet so far. The loss to Equity was quite painful, but I blame ourselves as we did not focus on the fixture. Also, the excitement of reaching the final got into our heads,” said Oketch.
After the loss, Oketch says they went back to the drawing board. They swallowed the humble pie before embarking on a rigorous recruitment exercise.
They sought players from regions where the KCB Bank operates in Kenya. So far, they are contented with their new signings from Western, Central, Rift Valley, Coast, Nairobi Environs, Nairobi Central, Kencom and Upperhill clusters.
The 41-year-old father of three says he has faith in the penned squad, adding that their only focus is to lift the football trophy.
“We have prepared well for this tournament. The new players are hungry for success. I can confidently tell you that we are title contenders,” Oketch adedd.
Just to show how well the contingent is prepared, KCB Bank cruised over Paramount Bank with a 2-0 victory in this season’s opening fixture on Friday.
Wycliffe Omwake opened the scoresheet with a 30-metre screamer before Fidel Alai sealed victory with a penalty.
Oketch says they are looking for ways to make their forwards dreadful as most shots and dangerous attacks in their last encounter came from behind.
“Actually, it was a defender and midfielder who scored for us. This tells you that we have work to do in our frontline,” said Oketch.
Oketch also feels the team lacks composure so there is need for them to cultivate confidence in the squad.