Barry Silah and Philip Yegon @PeopleSports11
As two of the biggest teams in the Kenyan Premier League Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards scratch their heads on how they will cope following the withdrawal of SportPesa as sponsors, a handful of teams have no such worries. One of those is Zoo Kericho who were just promoted to the top-flight last season.
In what will be their second year in the KPL, Zoo’s worries will be whether they can improve last season’s 12th place and not how to pay their players’ salaries and allowances. “Most of the players work and play here.
We have teachers, clerks and even students who only train once they are done with their duties. This makes our club unique and has built our support base because of community inclusivity,” said Zoo chairman Ken Ochieng’.
For a club that was formed nine years ago, Zoo seem to be succeeding where others have failed as besides the monetary issues, they have also managed to keep their key players away from the preying eyes of rival sides.
In their ranks is Nicholas Kipkirui, voted the 2017 New/Young Player of the Year during the Sports Journalists Association of Kenya Awards, as well as Mike Madoya, who scooped four accolades including the coveted MVP gong during the KPL gala this month.
That they have been able to keep hold of the duo, who were instrumental in their promotion and staying in KPL, is testament to how well the team is being run. “In KPL, having consistency comes with sticking with a group you already know.
There is a good buzz in the camp particularly with Madoya who has brought pride to this region and this gives us hope going forward,” said head coach Sammy Okoth. And it seams the star players are also buying into the blueprint.
“The awards we scooped will be morale booster to our squad. This has proved that the club has talented players and therefore we are focusing on winning the title this year,” said Madoya. Kipkirui concurred with him, saying: “We are up to the task and this season, we are not pushovers. We will stop at nothing until we win the league.”