As supermarket shelves clear up, Nakumatt FC also goes up for sale

Wednesday March 21 2018

Nakumatt’s Eugene Ambulwa (left) shields the ball from Wazito’s Pistone Mutamba during their Kenyan Premier League match on March 18, 2018 at Camp Toyoyo grounds. PHOTO | VINCENT OPIYO |

Nakumatt’s Eugene Ambulwa (left) shields the ball from Wazito’s Pistone Mutamba during their Kenyan Premier League match on March 18, 2018 at Camp Toyoyo grounds. PHOTO | VINCENT OPIYO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

CELLESTINE OLILO
By CELLESTINE OLILO
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After almost two years of enduring deep financial difficulties, the Nakumatt FC management have resorted to desperate attempts to get money, including selling off the club.

Club secretary general Albert Wesonga admits that the cash crunch at the club has reached excruciating levels, and that they are open to any form of support from well-wishers to support the club’s activities.

Sources within the club indicate that a meeting of the club management on Tuesday last week resolved to negotiate and close a deal with any interested sponsor or buyer, including those who would like to change the club’s name.

Addressing the issue, Wesonga said that their sponsors have done everything they could do to sustain the club, but that the persistent financial problems have significantly complicated matters.

“Even you, if you can help us, you are welcome. If you have someone who wants to come on board ask them to do so,” he said.

“Right now local football is a mess. There are only two teams in the country whom we can say are okay. Nzoia Sugar, Chemelil Sugar and so many premier league clubs are yet to finish paying salaries and allowances to their players. It is not a problem that is unique to us. The (Nakumatt) management has tried very hard to continue sponsoring the team, but they also have problems of their own.”

Nakumatt has endured tough financial times in the last one year, and their players refused to take to the pitch two weeks ago in their match against Chemelil Sugar saying that they could not do so on an empty stomach. It took the swift intervention of former Harambee Stars coach Jacob “Ghost” Mulee who issued some cash to convince the players to honour their match.

They ended up losing 4-1 to Chemelil.

Wesonga, however, dismissed this incident as mere fabrications, saying that Mulee only offered motivation for the team out of his own volition. “The players expected to be paid for having their game aired live on television. "We had to explain that the club was getting nothing and they were disappointed, but later they understood,” he said.

Long before the team joined the top flight, Nakumatt was once touted as the money bags of Kenyan football owing to their frivolity and flamboyance during transfer windows.

While in the National Super League, they were one of the very few clubs who could afford a foreign coach in Italian Giovanni Troiani, who has since been replaced by Anthony Kamau.

Their fortunes, however, took a nosedive at the beginning of 2017 as their sponsors (Nakumatt Holdings) battled to stay afloat in the supermarket business.

The team narrowly survived relegation last season and this year, they have managed victory only once in seven games.

“There are things happening in the team that the players are not happy about. I can’t talk much about that because the management is aware and they have promised to address it,” coach Mwangi said last weekend.

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