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Empty Nakumatt shelves spread hunger on football team

Nakumatt FC head coach Anthony Mwangi. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22- Nakumatt FC head coach Anthony Mwangi has admitted the team is living on the edge due to the struggles their sponsors -supermarket chain Nakumatt Holdings are going through.

The club went down 1-0 to Bandari FC on Sunday, their fourth loss in eight matches -a spell that has seen them win only once. Prior to the game, Mwangi had told Capital Sport the team did not train.

“These days, we just come for games. Players don’t even have transport to come to training and some of them have had their houses locked by landlords due to unpaid rent. It is a difficult situation for us, but there is nothing much we can do about it,” Mwangi said after his side’s loss to Bandari.

“The players are not motivated even if you look at their body language, they lack that fighting spirit that they should have. At this moment, we just hope that we can we at least one of the remaining four matches and see how we can plan for next season,” the tactician further said.

Bandari defender Felly Mulumba off the ball elbow to Nakumatt’s Peter Nzuki . Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

The sponsors who had been known to splash cash whilst Nakumatt were in the second tier as they looked for players to help them gain promotion, have been undergoing a torrid time, closing most of their branches due to lack of finances and accumulated debt.

However, their General Manager Albert Wesonga appears to be optimistic that they can safely take the team to harbor at the end of the season despite the financial difficulties.

“It is true that because of the problems our sponsors are facing, it is difficult to finance the team. But we are optimistic that we will be able to finish the season well. We are calling on sponsors who are willing to come on board to do so and we have made efforts to that effect,” Wesonga said.

The players’ body language against Bandari was evident that the players are more pushed to the wall by forces off the pitch than footballing reasons.

Nakumatt FC head coach Anthony Maina. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

They could not come back from a Felly Mulumba fourth minute goal and were more undone by a spirited Bandari side who save for defending with their hearts took turns to run down the clock.

The referee even added 10 minutes after the conclusion of the 90 when Bandari’s time wasting antics grew even bigger in the second half, the antics almost giving the game an ugly ending when a confrontation ensued.

The Dockers held on to push aside a five-match losing streak, moving to 11th in the standings.

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“We have not had a good run and today we only said players who deserve and are hungry to play for the team will do so and that is why there were so many changes in the team. This is a good result for us and we only need four points in the remaining four games,” Bandari head coach Paul Nkata said.

Mulumba rose in to head a Wilberforce Lugogo freekick from the right to give Bandari an early lead. Edwin Lavatsa had a 10th minute chance to make it two with another free header off a Darius Msagha cross, but it sailed wide.

Nakumatt FC striker Kepha Aswani controls infront of Bandari Mohammed Shariff. Photo/RAYMOND MAKAHAY

Nakumatt’s first chance came in the 21st minute when Nicholas Mejja laid in a wonderful cross from the right to pick out Joshua Oyoo, but the midfielder’s swerving volley was well tipped over the bar by the Bandari keeper.

Kepha Aswani, seeking a 13th Kenyan Premier League goal to take him top of the top scorer’s chart came close to picking that golden goal with a rasping shot from distance but it went inches off target.

In the second half, Nakumatt started by pulling out Donald Mosoti who was a red-card candidate after picking out a yellow card following several rush challenges, bringing on Eugene Ambulwa in his place.

The hosts pushed Bandari to their own half most of the second half. 15 minutes to the final whistle, the Bandari keeper produced a decent save to block an effort from Oyoo one on one after the midfielder had rushed on to a loose ball on the left.

Three minutes later, Shariff Mohammed almost deflected the ball into his own net in an attempt to clear off a cross from Nicholas Mejja.

Nakumatt had shouts for a penalty drowned 10 minutes from time after a goalmouth melee from a corner with Felly Mulumba seemingly handling the ball a yard off the line.

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