Is this the beginning of the end of Bandari Football Club?
This is the question on the lips of most Bandari diehard fans after the surprise and shocking resignation of the Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director Daniel Manduku who also doubled as the team patron.
Manduku, who has proceeded for terminal leave till June 1, after tendering his resignation on Friday, said he had to call it quits after deep introspection and lengthy consultation.
“As you know, it has been both an honour and a privilege to serve as the head of this vital installation. The duty of the captain of this ship has been to ensure that she remains steady and that she stays her course”, Manduku’s resignation letter read.
Though the coronavirus pandemic has brought sporting activities to a standstill, it is apt to appreciate Manduku, who, during his short stint as KPA CEO worked tirelessly to promote sports, more precisely Bandari FC.
Frankly speaking, it was shocking and at the same time heartbreaking that Manduku had resigned after literally babysitting Bandari FC.
When he took over the reigns as KPA MD in mid 2018, Bandari was a mid-table team, narrowly surviving relegation in the 2017-18 season. His first meeting with the playing unit and the technical team did the trick.
Apart from personally motivating the team through personal gifts, Manduku attended some of the matches both in Nairobi and Mombasa joining the hundreds of fans in cheering the team.
This instantly paid off as Bandari players started to play spurred on by motivation, finishing second in the league during that campaign, a feat they repeated last year while clinching the FKF Cup.
For the first time in the history of Bandari, Manduku organised for the team a fully paid pre-season training in Zanzibar and South Africa where the team featured in useful friendly matches in readiness for the Caf Confederation Cup.
The team performed exemplary well eliminating Al Ahly Shandy of Sudan in the first round then saw off Ben Guerndane from Tunisia in the second round but lost to Horoya of Guinea at the play-offs stage.
Prior to his resignation Manduku had directed that all the players and technical officials’ salaries be adjusted upwards a move that automatically motivated the playing unit.
Having worked at the Fifa Goal Project in Rwanda and Switzerland, Manduku had a soft spot for the youth and advised Bandari officials to concentrate more on recruitment of talented youth from across the country, a move which has seen the team grow in lips and bounds with the average age of players in the current team at 23.
On behalf of a majority of the Bandari fans and on my own behalf, as a personal friend, I just want to wish Manduki the very best in his future endeavours.