Will City Stars’ finally shine?
Nairobi City Stars popularly known as ‘Simba wa Nairobi’ have had a busy period on and off the pitch as they seek to make their return to the Kenya Premier League (KPL) a memorable one.
The Kawangware-based side has brought in 11 new players from within and beyond with focus on a balanced squad featuring experience and youth.
Coach Sanjin Alagic from Bosnia who joined the club last season leading them to the top of the second tier table with 46 points by the time the league was suspended, is keen to ensure he gets it right so as to silence critics.
At the same time, the team has had a couple of build-up matches which has given the technical bench some insight.
City Stars have brought in exciting talent in the frame of former Gor Mahia striker Eric Ombija who had been on loan at second tier side Coast Stima FC.
The highly rated 26 year old is expected to battle for a starting place against regulars in the form of Gambian forward Ebrimah Sanneh, Ugandan attacker Jimmy Bageya, Davis Agesa and youngster Vincent Otieno.
Other players who have arrived into the City Stars camp include influential midfielder Sven Yidah formerly with Kariobangi Sharks, centre back Kennedy Onyango from Kakamega Homeboyz, goalkeeper Stephen Njunge from Wazito FC and Rodgers Okumu from Coast Stima FC.
The departures include custodian Levis Opiyo to league Champions Gor Mahia and right back Kevin Okumu who has joined Wazito FC. Others are veterans David Gateri, Eric Ochieng and Ronny Kagunzi.
Club CEO Patrick Korir feels good about their prospects but is reluctant to outline their targets in order to avoid pressure to the playing unit.
“We obviously want to go in and compete. The coach has a squad to work with which is an improvement and this gives us confidence. We will definitely give our best in all matches.
City Stars definitely will want to learn from the last time we were in the Premiership and avoid repeating any mistakes,” he told People Sport.
Club Co-ordinator Samson Otieno believes it is a great thing the new players gel and the team bond overtime.
“It has been evident what we have witnessed over the days and that gives us hope for good things.
We might have a relatively new side but nobody can write us off because we can compete.
We managed to retain players in key departments so there is an element of continuity as well.”