NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 1- Kevin Kimani’s last minute move to 2009 champions Sofapaka was the highlight of the Kenyan Premier League transfer deadline day as the two-month pre-season window closed at midnight Wednesday.
The 2011 KPL player of the year formerly with Mathare United and Tusker FC joins the team after leaving Saudi Arabian outfit Al Hazen Sporting.
“It was a deal completed in the last hour of the transfer window. He had only played in one friendly match for us and the coach liked his attributes. He is very good and will be a vital addition to the team,” Sofapaka assistant coach John Baraza told Capital Sport.
Kimani’s arrival was a consolation to Batoto ba Mungu who failed in their month-long campaign to lure Zanzibar midfielder Abdul Aziz Makame to Nairobi, with sources intimating the two clubs could not agree on a transfer fee.
Sofapaka brought in a total of 11 new players into their fold, Kimani highlighting the pile while the likes of Burundian defender Mousa Omar and last season’s top goal scorers Stephen Waruru and Kepha Aswani also being highlights of their business.
The club released a total of 14 players from last season’s squad including Ugandan striker Feni Ali who failed to live to the billing despite arriving at the club in June as a high profile signing.
-Homeboyz, Nakumatt busiest-
Meanwhile, a rebranding Kakamega Homeboyz and the cash-strapped Nakumatt FC were the busiest in the two-month transfer window, roping in a total of 17 players and releasing 14 and 18 respectively.
The highlights of Homeboyz’s arrival include the Tusker FC trio of Allan Wanga, James Situma and Noah Wafula. Wanga comes into the team as a county employee, having been appointed the Director of Sports.
Head coach Mike Mururi has seemingly gone for experience in his squad, all the 17 roped in save for two having immense Premier League experience.
Nakumatt on their side lost most of their key players from last season, led by skipper Peter Nzuki who decamped to Tusker FC.
The team owned by supermarket chain Nakumatt has seemingly borrowed a leaf from the Sofapaka of 2016 which went for experienced players and those eager to prove their worth in their quest to stay alive.
Noah Abich and Moses ‘Dube’ Odhiambo who were both part of the relegation saving Sofapaka squad have joined Nakumatt as well as Meshack Karani, former Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards defender Solomon Nasio as well as Timonah Wanyonyi who rejoins.
The club has also acquired on a permanent deal the services of Jack Bruno from AFC Leopards while Brian Nyakan joins from Mathare United.
-Bandari, Chemelil signings-
Bandari, Chemelil Sugar and AFC Leopards were equally busy in the window, Bandari and AFC recruiting 15 new players each while Chemelil who also made away with their coach Abdallah Juma recruited 16.
Among the highlights in Bandari’s signings include midfielder David King’atua who returns to the club after an unfruitful spell with Swedish third tier side Oskarshamns FC.
The club has also signed Rwandese keeper Abouba Bashunga to fill in the void left by Wilson Obungu who has gone into the technical bench.
Among the high profile exits at the club include Enock Agwanda and Jacob Keli who failed to sparkle at the club. Striker Baron Oketch also leaves the club after his loan spell from Gor Mahia ended without making an impact.
AFC Leopards were also busy with head coach Robert Matano eager to mould a title winning squad with three Ghanaians among the new acquisitions.
Nzoia Sugar, Ulinzi Stars and Zoo Kericho had the least activity, Nzoia and Ulinzi signing seven while Zoo only brought on board four new players.
Ulinzi, champions of the KPL in 2003, 2004, 20015 and 2010 have gone for relatively unknown faces, the highlight of their transfers being striker Masuta Masita from Nzoia Sugar. The club has also recalled winger Kevin Amwayi.