NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 4 – Relegation fighting Thika United and Wazito FC have been the most active in the recently closed June Mid-Season transfer window, Thika leading the recruitment with 19 new players while Wazito and Chemelil have raked in 16 new players each.
Quite absurd numbers for clubs in mid-season, but all have been caused by a massive exodus of players, the common denominator being tough financial times.
It has been worse for Thika who have been forced to recruit all their 18 new players from the lower cadres having lost a massive number of first team players.
Skipper Dennis Odhiambo moved to Sofapaka, Christopher Oruchum, Saad Musa and Eugene Mukangula moved to AFC Leopards while defender Samuel Mwanje left for Posta Rangers.
The massive departures left them dented and they now have to fight for survival with a hugely inexperienced side.
“It is the situation we find ourselves in but we will have to fight with what we have. It is tough but we have to work for it,” Coach John Njogu, himself recruited barely two months ago said after his side’s 2-0 loss against Ulinzi Stars on Sunday.
Perhaps the only ‘big name’ arriving in Thika is Derrick Nzosi who has been signed from Muhoroni Youth with the striker having had an unsuccessful stint at Mathare United. Experienced midfielder Hajji Mwachoki also returns to the side, but as a pale shadow of his former self.
Former Sofapaka man Herritier Luvualu has also joined the side from second tier Bidco United.
Chemelil Sugar have also followed the Thika United model having lost most of their players due to tough financial times. They have gone for new faces while also promoting three players from their youth team.
The situation might be the same at Wazito FC, but the names that have landed on their team sheet for the second half of the season are slightly different. Head coach Frank Ouna has gone for a blend of youth and experience.
“Most of the players we have signed have been more of a necessity rather than a need. When you lose 15 players from your team, then you have no choice. We decided to go for experienced players because of the situation we find ourselves in. They know what it takes to be in that situation and what needs to be done,” Ouna said.
Wazito have had an upgrade of sorts in their goalkeeping department, landing the signature of former Mathare, Tusker and Posta Rangers keeper Martin Musalia after he was dropped at Posta Rangers.
The club has also landed Geoffrey Kataka, Jackson Saleh, Edwin Lavatsa and former Gor midfielder Erick Ochieng.
Other notable inclusions in their second leg squad is Tyrone Owino who comes in from Sony Sugar having had stints at Bandari and Nakumatt, Derrick Onayngo from Mathare United and former Tusker FC left back Isaac Otieno.
“I am confident that these players will help us get out of that zone. There’s only a three point difference between us and the 13th placed team. We just need to get into a winning mentality for the remaining games of the season,” the coach added.
Meanwhile, Gor Mahia was the least active in the transfer window bringing in only one player. They have replaced Meddie Kagere who left for Simba SC with Burundian Francis Mustafa who joins them from Rwanda’s Kiyovu Sports.
-Other notable transfers
In other notable transfer of the 33-day window, Bandari FC has raided Sony Sugar and made away with two of their attacking gems’; Benjamin Mosha and Yema Mwana.
Sony on their end have raided neighbors Chemelil plucking off keeper John Waw, Kevin Wesonga and Collins Neto while Ezekiel Otuoma returns to the sugar belt after failing to make the crack at AFC Leopards.
The club has also opened its doors again for striker Enock Agwanda who left the club at the end of the 2012 season to join Sofapaka. His journey then took him to Gor Mahia, Bandari and lately Ushuru FC.
Four-time champions Ulinzi Stars have signed two players, Striker Elijah Mwanzia joining from Mathare United while Eugene Ochieng’s move is made official after completing his military training. He was with Sony Sugar previously.
Geoffrey Kokoyo, Mark Bikokwa and Omar Boraafya return to the squad after completing various military courses.
Relegation fighting Vihiga United have meanwhile signed striker Philip Muchuma from Chemelil Sugar while Morven Otinya joins from Nzoia Sugar. Vitalis Akumu returns to the Western region after an unsuccessful stint with Sofapaka while Stephen Wakanya re-unites with his former coach Mike Mururi after leaving Nzoia Sugar.