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No trophies and I will go back home, vows Ssimbwa

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Sofapaka head coach Sam Ssimbwa strolls around during a past training session at the club’s Eastleigh High School training ground. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15- Sofapaka FC head coach Sam Ssimbwa has vowed to leave his post at the helm of the club if he fails to win silverware in his second year in charge of Batoto ba Mungu.

The Ugandan tactician re-joined joined the 2009 league champions at the beginning of last season and helped steer them to second spot finish having just managed to stay alive in the top tier on the final day of the previous season.

Ssimbwa who won the GOtv Shield with the club during his first stint now says he wants to win at least one piece silverware, the Kenyan Premier League title being top of his ambition.

“This (winning trophies) is what I want. If I fail I go back to Uganda because two years in this team at least I want to get silverware. Wherever I have been travelling to I have gotten silverware. Here also, I want the same,” Ssimbwa told Capital Sport.

The club endured a torrid period in 2016 due to lack of sponsorship but once a shirt sponsor landed at the beginning of last season, their fortunes changed and they were considered serious title contenders until Gor Mahia pulled away.

Ssimbwa reckons it will be a tough charge for the title, picking out Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards and Tusker as three of the clubs he feels will offer the toughest competition.

“It is not easy because every team is coming in to fight for the title. Gor Mahia have a very strong team, AFC Leopards have also put together a very strong outfit, I even saw Matano in Uganda. Tusker are there, Posta Rangers also, so it will not be easy. But we will fight. We are Batoto ba Mungu,” a confident Ssimbwa noted.

Newly signed Sofapaka forward Ezekiel Okare attempts to make a pass under pressure from Maurice Odipo during a past training session at their Eastleigh High School base. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

His sentiments have been echoed by skipper Hillary Echesa who is confident that the team put together will be able to challenge for top honors.

“I think we now have a very strong team and having finished second last season, the only way for us is up. We have to work hard and I trust with the players we have we can actually achieve that target of winning trophies. Everyone is up for it. The motivation and the spirit of the players is brilliant,” the experienced Echesa noted.

Sofapaka have assembled a strong team for the new season with high profile players landing at the stable. Among the new faces at the club include strikers Stephen Waruru and Kepha Aswani who scored 13 goals each last season for Ulinzi Stars and Sofapaka respectively.

Also joining the side is Burundi defender Mousa Omar, Ibrahim Kitawi and Elli Asieche from Kariobangi Sharks, Jackson Saleh and Vitalis Akumu from Western Stima, Teddy Osok on loan from Gor Mahia, Yussuf Mohammed from Muhoroni Youth as well as goalkeeper Ian Otieno who left AFC Leopards.

Newly signed Sofapaka midfielder Ibrahim Kitawi attempts to make a pass under pressure during a past training session at their Eastleigh High School base. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Though Ssimbwa says the team is not as strong as the one he had in 2010 and 2011, he reckons it is a better team than last season’s.

“I can’t say it is the strongest because to me I measure strength with the number of national team players I have. You can’t compare my squad with that of Gor Mahia. But overall I think it is better than last season,” the coach said.

“But we have just started our pre-season training and we can’t really gauge them. We have to play friendly matches and see what they can add to the team and their strengths,” the tactician added.

Meanwhile, Batoto ba Mungu will face Ssimbwa’s old employers Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) in a friendly match next week with the Ugandan champions touring the country for training.

Ssimbwa also said they would be travelling to Sudan for further friendly matches before they kick off their season at home against Bandari on February 4.

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