‘Otenga’ keen to start new season on a high note as newcomers face baptism by fire
Kisumu All Stars will be going flat out to exorcise the ghosts of last season when they missed promotion to the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) by a whisker when the National Super League kicks off this weekend.
On Saturday, Stars start the campaign against Zoo Kericho, who were demoted to the second-toe league over match-fixing, and will be hoping that they shall prevail over the former at Kericho Green Stadium, one of the dreariest hunting grounds in the country.
The team’s coach Salim Babu said it was unfortunate for Stars, better known as Otenga, to have slumped last September in the play-offs that were to determine which team was to be promoted and which was to be demoted.
“We gave our but football being what it is we finally villains which really demoralized the players. This time, I have urged my players to strive in burning the midnight oil for us to revisit big-time action,” said Babu.
He described Zoo as an all-round good side which should not be treated with kid gloves and especially given their experience of playing in the much-involving Premier League.
“It will be exciting playing a big team with a lot of experience but hey!, who said Zoo Kericho are not beatable even at their own background?, posed Babu whose team wound up fourth in the pecking order of the NSL last season.
“It was obviously painful how we lost a place at promotion last season by just a whisker and we want to vent our anger not only on Zoo in our opener but indeed all our opponents in subsequent fixtures,”
Zoo FC under Herman Iswekha are by and large expected to be a vengeful lot as they are still harboring bitterness following the embargo issued on them six months ago.
The demotion of Zoo by Football Kenya Federation (FKF) came after the governing body had received a directive by Fifa who had launched an investigation of match-fixing and found the team culpable.
Ever since the decision was taken; Zoo has made some adjustments in the playing unit and even the technical bench with the hope of posting the desired results in the second-tier action with the hope of revising the Premier League.
Meanwhile newcomers SS Assad, Naivas FC and Mara Sugar face a real test of nerves and skills in the new season.
Assad will hit the road for Murang’a for a date with hosts Murang’a Seal at St. Sebastian Park with Naivas , who are in the second year of action, taking on MCF at Camp Toyoyo ground.
In Kericho, Mara Sugar will host neighbors Shabana with the sugar-men hoping to upset the much experienced ”Tore Bobe” at the tea zone.
Elsewhere at Hope Centre in Kawangware, Leonard Opido’s Kibera Black Stars vcome face to face with Coastal Heroes, formerly Coast Stima, in a match that should keep fans on the edge of their seats as it shall bring together two teams known for displaying good football.
Black Stars who recently secured sponsorship with Rubis Energy will be out to give their new sponsor Rubis Energy quality for their money with a good display on the field.