Cautious Bandari won’t sign just yet, await sports-return guidelines

Mkalla Mwambodze, roving writer

The coronavirus pandemic has not only shut football activities and training grounds too, and to some teams, player transfers have also been negatively impacted.

Consequently, the pandemic forced many players into isolation waiting for the ‘good news’ – when action would resume.

One such team is Bandari, who are yet to sign any player in the transfer window.

In fact their head coach Ken Odhiambo adds that they are in no hurry to make signings for the coming season since ”there are no definite timelines” set by the  sports ministry for return-to-action.

“For now many teams are signing the players they need but with us we are not in a hurry because the return-to-sports guidelines have not been announced. So it is hard for us to get into the market not  knowing the exact state of the players that you have,’ said Odhiambo.

‘This presents major challenges for the club. Footballers are not exempted from the social distancing guidelines and working from home, meaning coaching staff who normally monitor their players’ every move at close quarters are now tasked with keeping them fit from afar, at least virtually,” he explained.

Training guidelines, issued online by coaches, has been the norm, but it’s uncharted territory hence the struggles.

“I have tried as much as I can to follow up on my players like Yema Mwana, Isaac Magige and Abdalla Hassan… All in all my players are true professionals who adhere to instructions. Every club tries to get their players to a certain level of fitness at certain points of the season. When they come back we will know what we need in the market,” added the former Nairobi City Stars tactician.

Odhiambo, who has previously handled Harambee Stars says all footballers want to see the season begin and would rather not play matches behind closed doors, but will respect whatever comes from the government when they officially announce the return of sports formula.

“When players are in training every day, you see what they eat, how they apply themselves, you get a direct feedback from all, you can tell if they’ve had a bad sleep and you can intervene on a daily basis to get them at their peak.

“But now we have to trust that the players will follow the recommendations that we have put in place. That means eating what they should eat, going to sleep at the right time and avoiding boredom,” Odhiambo who returned to Bandari after a two-year hiatus in February, said.

At the same time Odhiambo believes that once action resumes, the Dockers can break their duck and bag the long-elusive league title to emulate Feisal FC, the only team from the Coast region to have bagged the league title, claiming the prize  in 1965.

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