Nation Media Group’s football club faces its biggest test yet when they take on Kenyan Premier League side Ulinzi Stars in a friendly match at St Mary’s School, Nairobi, from 9am Saturday.
The match will be part of Ulinzi’s training programme for their upcoming league matches, while for Nation FC, it will be their first test against a top tier side as they prepare for the final round of matches in the Nairobi corporate league.
Ulinzi, coached by former Kenya international forward Benjamin Nyangweso, are basking in the glory of their 1-0 win over Bandari FC in their last premiership outing at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru, last weekend.
The lone goal for the soldiers was netted by John Kago from an Oscar Wamalwa through ball in the 12th minute.
“The match will give us an opportunity to try out a few new players and formations we have been working on this week,” Nation FC coach Mark Agutu said.
“It will also act as a good forum for interaction between Nation Media Group staff and members of the Kenya Defence Forces who continue to serve our nation diligently,” Agutu added.
Currently sixth in the Nairobi corporate league organised by Left Foot Sports Limited, Nation FC can jump up to a second or third-place finish if they win the final match of the season against Bamburi FC.
Nation FC, supported by StarTimes (kit sponsorship) and St Mary’s School (grounds partnership), has been consistent this year, visiting Kisii, Nyamira, Kakamega, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Mombasa and Kiambu counties for friendly matches.
“We would like to thank StarTimes for coming on board as shirt sponsors for this season, and St Mary’s School – through the school’s Principal Peter Mbiyu Macharia - for partnering with us and providing the training ground,” Nation FC team manager Elias Makori said.
“We look forward to extending the partnership in a bigger way next year, especially through NMG running mentorship programmes for the St Mary’s School students.
“We will continue mentoring the young students who wish to take up journalism as a career and to also help them improve on their languages, especially in the coming year through, among others, the Newspapers in Education programme,” Makori added.
NTV cameraman Shamason Osiago is back in training and will be key in defence alongside Kevin “Luke Shaw” Amboso, Leonard Amboso and goalkeeper George Ipomai, with Eric Musungu expected to man the midfield alongside Titus “Tito” Mbithi, Sammy Mumachi, Joseph “Pogba” Wasike and Samuel “Carrick” Muema.
Lead striker Isaac Ochieng is out with a hamstring injury, while captain Allan Munga will also be rested, leaving attacking options lying on the shoulders of Peter Bol and Jeff Lidavu.