Sofapaka busiest in June KPL transfer window

Sofapaka busiest in June KPL transfer window

Relegation threatened Sofapaka was the busiest club in the just concluded Kenya Premier League (KPL) June transfer window, while Uganda remained the main foreign market for local clubs with 21 players joining the domestic top flight.

A total of 23 left the struggling Batoto ba Mungu, paving way for 22 new players to join the cash-strapped 2009 champions according to the KPL, while a separate list from Football Kenya Federation (FKF) pegged those cleared to play for the club at 20.

Despite the massive exodus at the club that was a repeat of the pre-season period where almost the entire first team left, head coach David Ouma believes his new faces will lift the club from bottom of the log.

The parallel lists will only heighten confusion in the league with FKF insisting AFC Leopards have signed Malian striker Ismaila Diarra from Rwanda and he has been issued with a temporary licence while the KPL have no record of the player who is expected to join the Den next week.

However, focus will be on the former glamour boys of the KPL, Sofapaka who are in danger of returning to the second-tier since earning promotion with a bang by winning the 2009 title.

“Of course we have to make them adapt quickly, but it is a quality team assembled with a mission for overturning first round results. This time round we ourselves executed the changes in the squad at will which was different in December when we lost our team against our wish.

“We came up with a very youthful team and the challenge was big, that they prove themselves to remain in top level, but they couldn’t. You remember cases when some of them would be left with an empty net and wouldn’t score.

“With my new team, having analyzed the table, our target is at least a top 8 finish. Against Western Stima last weekend we were a different side from what played in the first leg although we lost. I’m working on finishing. Generally, we did well in the transfer market,”  Ouma, the Harambee Starlets coach, asserted.

All the players roped in at Sofapaka are from lower tier leagues save for Salim Odhiambo (Western Stima), Charles Melubo (Ushuru FC),  Samson Otieno (City Stars), Noah Abich (Mathare United) and Eric Ochieng from Gor Mahia.

Mombasa based Bandari had a unique window shedding renowned names for youthful players all from coastal clubs. Meshack Karani was loaned to Kakamega Homeboyz for one year while Bernard Mang’oli and Edwin Wafula returned to AFC Leopards while Masoud  Juma went back to Sony Sugar.

Abdallah Hassan Abdalla, Mnyambo Darius Msagha, Hamis Ramadhan, Abdul Khamis, Eric Kibiru, Musa Amani and Mohammed Akibar joined the Dockers from  lower tier clubs as the cull on mainland born players took root in a change of strategy.

AFC Leopards missed out on Emmanuel Imanishimwe who was due to join from Rayon Sport of Rwanda, though his teammate  Diarra has provisionally transferred to the Den.

Ingwe is undergoing a revolution having released 16 players and bringing on 11 including former captain Jackson Saleh, from rivals Gor Mahia despite the fact he is struggling to rediscover his form.

A key target to the den Allan Wanga finally moved to former club Tusker FC whom he led to the 2007 title with the league leaders also signing Hashim Sempla from Uganda’s Bul FC, Robert Omunuk and George Mandela from KPL rivals Muhoroni Youth as well as promoting two more players from their youth team.

Champions Gor Mahia de-registered Thiago de Lima who failed to impress despite the fanfare around his signing as he becomes the second Brazilian import to flop at K’Ogalo as they welcomed back Meddie Kagere who left in the pre-season after failing to agree on his salary with  management.

Midfield maestro Khalid Aucho was de-registered as he pursues green pastures in Scotland, while former Western Stima ace Baron Oketch joined the 15-times champions to spice up an already fiery striking force. Wellington Ochieng, a defender, also crossed over to K’Ogalo to from Muhoroni.

Ushuru FC was another club that had a massive fire sale releasing 15 players while adding 13.

Mathare United was the calmest of all clubs in the top league with only three players leaving and an equal number joining with the former Ingwe custodian Wycliffe Kasaya joining the Slum Boys from second-tier side Nakumatt FC.

The overall transfers, according to FKF are 387, eight of them international while 241 were free, including the lower leagues. In addition, 47 players left the premier league for lower leagues, while 33 moved from the lower leagues to the top league.