An emphatic 3-1 win by Bandari over Mathare United at the weekend raises hope for a respectable finish in the Kenyan Premier League.
This follows another deserved 2-1 mid-week win over battle-hardened Kenya Commercial Bank Football Club. It is clear proof that good relations and proper management are key to success.
Bandari did not make many new recruitments. Instead, last week the club lost central defender Felly Mulumba to Zimbabwe Premier League club FC Platinum. This left a huge hole in our back line which many thought would leave the team exposed.
Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director Daniel Manduku should be commended for streamlining the management of the club. Captain William Kipkemboi Ruto was brought on board alongside the experienced Twahir Muhiddin as the stand-in coach. Results have begun trickling in.
Football, or sports in general, is not Kenya Ports Authority’s core business.
It is cargo handling. Therefore, the extra activities the firm engages in such as sponsoring Bandari Football Club, KPA basketball and volleyball teams in the national league is a Community Social Responsibility.
It is on this strength that teams have never been under pressure to win titles. This is because KPA is interested in nurturing and exporting talent.
Players the world over are like children who need parenting. That is exactly what Ruto, who is also the KPA General Manager Operations and Harbour did upon his appointment. He held a round table meeting with players and discussed openly what needed to be fixed. Top among the grievances was salary delays, and this was sorted out.
And like KPA’s Corporate Manager Bernard Osero correctly put it: “Our role is simply to grow talent as one way of giving back to the community. Winning titles is a bonus.”
It is, therefore, important that Kenyan Premier league clubs pick some lessons from Bandari. Teams can perform well with average players if they are managed professionally.
Simple words of encouragement motivate and allow players to enjoy the game since they have self-belief. There is abundant talent in Kenya but a lot needs to be done on how it is managed. Focus should be on growth, not short-term glory.
The day our Kenyan sports officials will realise that they are managing human beings by letting the players know what winning entails and allowing them to express their talent by enjoying the game rather than playing under pressure, then sports, and football, will grow to greater heights.
That is what explains the sudden turn of events at Bandari Football Club. We are marching forward to a brighter future.