Barry Silah @obel_barry
National Super League (NSL) teams have opted for experience in their recruitment drives ahead of the 2018/19 season that begins this weekend.
Newly-promoted Shabana, relegated Wazito and Nairobi Stima, who narrowly missed out on promotion last season, are among the teams that have signed players with top flight experience as they seek to earn promotion to the SportPesa Premier League (SPL) at the end of the new campaign.
Former Kenyan Premier League giants Shabana FC have made their intentions of returning to the high table of Kenyan club football by netting four players with top flight experience.
Ex-Sofapaka and Tusker FC midfielder, who was voted 2014 Most Valuable Player, Anthony Ndolo leads the list of Shabana’s new acquisitions that also include most-traveled striker Moses Arita formerly of Thika United, experienced centre-back Omweri Atuta from Sony Sugar and ex-Gor Mahia midfielder Moses Otieno.
“We have assembled a good unit that will hopefully take us back to the Premier League. There is no excuse because we know that we have a tough run in the season. It was important for us to get a solid and balanced outfit in our quest,” Shabana chairman Jared Nivaton told People Sport on phone yesterday.
Wazito FC and Thika United, who finished second from bottom and last in the SPL last season, also have ambitions of an immediate return and have backed that up by signing a host of seasoned names.
Under new coach Mohamed Ahmed, Wazito have brought in eight players with ex-Mt Kenya United attacker Joseph Waithira, midfielder Zachary Gathu and defender Dennis Gicheru, both from KCB, among them.
“We know what is ahead and we must be prepared. There is no shortcut in this game so we have had to invest in quality which we hope can work,” said Wazito chairman Simon Alubala.
Ushuru FC, who came close to earning promotion to the top tier before losing to Nakumatt in the playoffs, have signed veteran striker Jacob Kelly from KCB to fill the void left by Benson Amianda who moved in the opposite direction as coach Ken Kenyatta looks to avoid missing out on promotion for a third straight year.
Nairobi Stima, fourth-placed in the NSL last season, have also raided Premier League clubs for star quality as they look to make an impact.
Experienced Moses Odhiambo formerly of Gor Mahia, Eric Kipkirui from Kariobangi Sharks and Curtis Wekesa of Sony Sugar have joined Stima under new boss George Owoko.