After Kisumu All Stars relegation, Nyanza region remains with no team in top league
For the first time in more than a decade, the Nyanza region, often described as the bedrock of Kenyan football, will miss representation in the Kenya Premier League (KPL) following the relegation of Kisumu All-Stars on Wednesday after the second leg of a two-legged playoffs against second tier side Vihiga United.
The result has inflicted a serious blow to the region as All Stars now follows the likes of Shabana, former league champions Sony Sugar, Chemelil Sugar, Agro Chemical, Kisumu Posta and Muhoroni Youth out of the top flight football, no longer giving the region the bragging rights in the sport.
To some it is a crisis to Kenyan football, since the teams were used as stepping stones by talented players identified from schools in the region, before they were scouted by more established sides in the premier league.
According to Nyanza National Executive Committee (NEC) member Joseph Andere, the rain started beating the clubs when money taps ran out and cost them a proper stab at the top tier.
“Money is an important element in today’s sporting business because you have to acquire quality players of high calibre to perform.
The sugar belt in my region has been struggling, for example Muhoroni Youth, Sony Sugar and Chemelil Sugar struggled to even pay players. Secondly not so many companies have invested in sports and that is a big problem.
I think we have to rethink our future because as a region we have lost significantly by missing out on the Premiership,” Andere told People Sport.
Shabana FC in Kisii County has spent almost a decade in the second tier after being thrown out of the Premiership more than two decades ago, at one point they found themselves playing in the Provincial Leagues.
Former Shabana and Harambee Stars stalwart Henry Motego believes Nyanza has big talent and it will only be a matter of time before a new dawn emerges.
“We have of course to work on a strategy of building and retaining talent for our teams, so I believe we have to be patient so that we can get a good and lasting product.
The region cannot stay out in the cold for long, so as stakeholders we must be pushing on a formula that will get us back into the top.