Can Mathare salvage their FKF Premier League season?
Mathare United plead for a sponsor to survive relegation last season after a last-minute push that saw them win five of their last six matches of the campaign. This season however seems to be unfolding in a similar way as they have only won two of their first nine games.
The problems surrounding the team are much more the same, if not worse. The team is suffering a huge financial crisis and with clubs in the FKF Premier League not entitled to any grants, their situation has worsened.
Last season, before league sponsors BetKing pulled out, each club was getting a total of close to SH800,000 monthly with broadcast partners StarTimes also chipping into the amount. This season, however, StarTimes who were giving Sh300,000 each to the clubs are no longer there.
And, reportedly, the club has gone for almost six months without paying their players as they also do not have a sponsor.
Now, head coach Ezekiel AKwana has laid bare just how dire the situation is at the club.
“It is honestly very difficult as a coach. We have been talking to the management and every time the word is that the COVID situation has derailed a lot of things and there is nothing much you can do. We just push the players to do the best they can,” Akwana says.
Mathare United plead for a sponsor, He adds; “Sometimes it is difficult to work because you might find you have seven players in training and of those only maybe two are starters. So as a coach, you cannot even implement any plans or ideas you have for a match.”
The Slum Boys are currently 15th in the standings with seven points off two wins and a draw in nine matches. They have not won any of their last five with four losses and a draw. Their last outing was a 2-0 defeat at the hands of City Stars.
On this, Akwana further stated that the team didn’t train prior to the game.
“We played in Kakamega on Wednesday and travelled on Thursday. On Friday we couldn’t train and I just gave the players an off day because if we would have trained it would have been worse. On that I fault the fixture secretary and it is not the first time we are facing such a thing this season,” added the coach.
Despite the struggles the team is facing, Akwana wears a brave face that the team will not be fighting relegation again this season and notes they have what it takes to turn things around despite the slow start.
“The management is doing its best and the CEO is working hard to even sometimes get something for the players to motivate them so I am still hopeful that things will be better. We have a good team of young and hungry players and I believe once we settle down, we will be a good team,” Akwana offered.
Their next assignment will be away to their former coach Francis Kimanzi at Wazito, with the latter also having struggles of their own. But with a whole week of working on their wrongs, Akwana will be looking forward to better performance.
Mathare has never beaten Wazito in the top flight in all the five times they have met. The closest they have come is picking three draws. The other remaining matches were losses.