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Confident Shabana coach Kanuli looks at NSL with hope full of optimism amid challlenges

Shabana coach Andrew Rix Kanuli says his team is up to the task to compete in the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) National Super League (NSL) after earning promotion from the third tier league, FKF Division One.

The former top-flight Kisii ‘Glamour Boys’ bundled out Mwatate United 7-6 on post-match penalties to seal the NSL promotion after two years in the doldrums and the young tactician said he is looking forward to guiding his team in the so-called competitive NSL league.

“We are aware that the demands of the National Super League are different from Division One. We will recruit quality players to be able to match the big boys in the League.

Already we are working on financial stability because, it is a recipe for success. We are equal to the task,” Kanuli said.

Widely considered as the ‘third force’ in Kenyan football behind SportPesa Premier League titans, champion Gor Mahia and nemesis AFC Leopards, Shabana, the 1988 top-flight league runners-up and representative of Kenya in the same year in the then CAF Africa Cup of Champions, enjoys a great and huge fans base support from the Gusii community.

Founded by businessman Dogo Khan in 1980, ‘Tore Bobe’ as the team is famously referred to by its diehard fans, fell from glory to grass when founder and sole team sponsor Dogo Khan left the club, where then bitter boardroom wrangles ensued on ownership, a scenario that threaten to tear the team apart and this led to the team relegated from the then Kenyan Premier League.

Dissatisfied by the demotion, the team declined to honour the decision and refused to play in the second-tier league in 2007.

Eight years later, Shabana regrouped under the flagship of Gusii Unite, where they were registered to take part in second-tier league, working their way up and in 2015, they were promoted back to the top-flight league only to play in the second-tier FKF Premier League following a fallout between the federation and top-tier governing body, the Kenyan Premier League Limited, where two parallel leagues were formed and ran concurrently.

After resolving the difference, KPL was retained as the top-flight league with FKF Premier League, renamed FKF NSL. 

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