Nairobi City Star’s new coach, German Oliver Page, has promised to play good, attractive football in the Kenyan Premier League next season.
The 37-year-old former Bundesliga player said Kenyan football was on the rise and his mission was to help develop talent and work for the community
“This is a mission that I share with Nairobi City Star and that is why I accepted to take the job here,” Page said.
The former defender was officially unveiled to the media yesterday at Hope Centre, the headquarters of World Hope FC, which will transform to Nairobi City Stars at the end of the season following a change in ownership.
Page, who played as a defender for Bayer Leverkusen and Dynamo Dresden in Germany’s top league between 1988 and 1992, takes over from John “Bobby” Ogolla and has an initial contract of two years.
The new owners have, however, retained Ken Odhiambo on the technical bench as an assistant coach.
“We are restructuring for the new season and had to replace our head coach. Bob (Ogolla) has really nurtured players in this club and we are not replacing him in a bad way. We have to have changes,” City Stars secretary Peter Jabuya said.
World Hope was bought last month by Ambassadors in Sport, an international Christian organisation, and will convert their name to Nairobi City Stars at the end of the season.
City Stars is a franchise of Cleveland City Stars, an American professional football team featuring in the United Soccer Leagues Second Division, the third football division in the United States.
Page said he aimed to build strong structures at City Stars with well established under-17 and under-19 sides.
The trained pastor said he felt no pressure in his anticipated position as the only foreign coach next season in the 16-team KPL.
Page has had several years of coaching experience with German clubs (VFL Hamm, 2003-2005) and Sportfreund Siegen Under23 (2007-2008). He also received practical training with 2004 German champions Werder Bremen.
Born to a German mother and Nigerian father, Page signed up with Bayer Leverkusen as a 17-year-old and made his professional debut in the Bundesliga in 1988.
He ended his professional football playing career just four years later to embark on pastoral training.
“I had a wish in my head to one day coach football abroad while working for the community,” Page said.
He is the first new coach signing by a KPL club ahead of next season.
World Hope were founded in 2003 and were promoted to the KPL the following year. They finished eighth last season.