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Teams in lower tier league have not be spared pain of cash crisis

Monday November 11 2019

Northern Wanderers players during a training session at Camp Toyoyo in Nairobi on August 29, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |

Northern Wanderers players during a training session at Camp Toyoyo in Nairobi on August 29, 2019. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

MOSES OJUANG'
By MOSES OJUANG'
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While we are dwelling on the dire financial straits in the top-flight Kenyan Premier League, the situation in the lower tiers has gone from bad to worse.

A nation that seeks to build its football must begin from the grassroots. If it only concentrates on the top, then the “beautiful game” will wither. For some weeks, we have been howling like wild dogs about the financial strain paralysing our clubs. An established club like Sony Sugar from Awendo has already dished out two walkovers.

That is food for thought.

At the same time, some clubs had petitioned the Kenyan Premier League to postpone fixtures until things get better. That, of course, was vetoed by the majority since there was no timeframe for the postponement.

The request came at a time when we were already settling down and looking forward to smooth football season. One respectable authority in Kenyan football wryly commented that the game was already being played even before the advent of the betting companies that have since withdrawn their sponsorship of sports in the country.

It was a true view, but it had no solution in it. Well, the National Super League (NSL) has had the most baffling experience in the form of Northern Wanderers.

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The club had started like a small kindled fire and was going places with a large community following. It was a story we were following keenly hoping it shall be emulated by other counties. But alas! The dream has died even before it took proper root.

Earlier in the season, Eldoret Youth were unable to take part in the NSL due to financial problems. Northern Wanderers stepped in to replace them. After losing some matches and after the patron, Garissa Township MP Aden Duale, made some gaffes on Twitter, things started going downhill.

The club had the following of the entire Northern Kenya communities but the politician tweeted: “Garissa Northern Wanderers…” and this rubbed many up the wrong way.

The term Garissa narrowed it down to a very small place. It was a bad mistake or a cheeky comment that annoyed many people.

The lawmaker was corrected by the administration of the team but it still remained a dent. Last week, the team wrote a letter to the Football Kenya Federation requesting to exit from the league and relinquish their place to Eldoret Youth as per their memorandum of understanding between the two.

This is a tricky situation and we wonder if there is precedence to it. This is a true case of sunset before dawn!

There are many able Northern Kenyans out there who can come together and save the team from dismantling. Just leave the politicians out of it if they can only sow discord.

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