Since earning promotion to the much lucrative SportPesa Premier League (SPL) 2017 season from the second tier National Super League, Nakumatt has astounded a sizeable number of their critics.
Having been joined by Zoo Kericho, Nzoia Sugar and Kariobangi Sharks to dine with the big boys in the top-flight league, not much was expected from Nakumatt that is wholly owned by Nakumatt Holdings.
But Nakumatt have been successful to hold onto their own against much experienced sides and as the league takes a three-week break, pundits strongly feel their impressive seventh placing is enough for their opponents to give them the respect they deserve when the season resumes.
The team’s Italian gaffer Giovanni Traioni and AFC Leopards legend Fred Ambani who have been serving as coaches have given their all in as far as getting Nakumatt promoted to SPL is concerned.
However, Traioni has taken up more challenges in the team’s set-up as is now the Technical Director, leaving the coaching duties to youthful Samuel Mwangi who is now deputised by Ambani with the duo overly keen to extend the expatriate’s legacy.
Although he was not part of the team which took Nakumatt to the “Promised Land”, having been hired to replace Traioni as head coach at the start of the season, Mwangi believes there is a lot of potential and observes that winding up amongst the top eight at the conclusion of the season is not too much to ask.
“I inherited a brigade which is willing to learn and from the look of things, this is a team which is bound to make headways despite the fact that SPL is really tough,” said Mwangi who at 35 is one of the youngest coaches in the SPL.
Nakumatt were well aware of the rigors of playing in the KPL which was the reason why the team proceeded to Loitokitok for pre-season training and although the players gelled during that period there were few challenges lying in wait in form of a delay for the SPL to start which left some of their suffering burn-outs while others were injured due to excessive training.
“The long hours of training in anticipation of the league kick off took a toll on our players and when it started, one of them like Timonah Wanyonyi had a muscle strain in our opening match against Bandari and was rendered inactive for a while,” said Mwangi who is a Level “C” License holder.
In the meantime, Mwangi said he was eyeing several players to bolster the squad in the June transfer window though he could not divulge the identity of the new acquisitions.