NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11- Albeit going on to lose 4-1, cash-strapped Nakumatt FC were almost dishing away a walk over to Chemelil Sugar FC on Sunday when the players refused to get into the pitch as they felt ‘short-changed’ by the club management.
The team sponsored by struggling supermarket chain Nakumatt Holdings only ran out to warm up 25 minutes to kick off after a talking-to from former Harambee Stars head coach, now pundit, Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee.
Capital Sport has learnt that the players felt the management had been getting money behind their backs and the same was not trickling down to them.
“It is true they did not want to go into the game because they heard that there is money being given to teams for live TV coverage something that is not true. We had tried to explain to them but they could not believe us. They only agreed to go into the pitch when Ghost (Mulee) came and explained to them,” Nakumatt FC Secretary General Albert Wesonga said.
However, head coach Anthony Mwangi speaking after the match had different thoughts and said the team’s struggles were not down to the technical bench or the players but the blame squarely lie on the officials’ hands.
“The players had refused to come for the match because there are things happening behind the scenes which are not good and the players are not happy about it. It is not our doing on the pitch but the team’s management which knows what’s happening,” Mwangi said after the match.
Mwangi also said the team has not trained since their 1-0 win over Nzoia Sugar on February 17 and have only been meeting during game days.
“It is not easy because football is about preparation. If you don’t prepare you can’t win. However, I am even impressed with the results we have picked. We won away to Nzoia, then we drew against Sony and Nzoia Sugar,” the tactician further added.
Nakumatt have even struggled to pay player salaries and the team has issued an SOS to potential sponsors to bail them out or they will find it difficult finishing up the season.
“We are looking for sponsors and the owner has given us the go ahead. He has been helping us with the away matches but not with the luxury that we were used to. It is better than nothing. We have had talks with various potential partners but so far nothing concrete. Hoping soon we can get something,” Wesonga further claimed.
Most clubs in the league especially those without stable sponsorship are struggling to stay afloat especially since the exit of broadcast partners SuperSport with clubs having been assured of at least Sh550,000 every month then.
Currently, clubs are not earning anything from the broadcast agreement between the Kenyan premier League management and Spanish company MediaPro which has been producing league matches.o, the exit of headline sponsors SportPesa means the clubs do not get a coin from the league managers.