Mathare United coach Stanley Okumbi has stated that finishing in the top eight in the Kenya league will be deemed as a success for his club after a torrid start to the season that left the 2008 champions staring at the possibility of being drawn to battling the axe.
Okumbi, who was installed to guide the team after the departure of then coach Gabriel "Kings" Njoroge, has helped steady the ship and the unthinkable possibility of being ushered out of the top flight league is now water under the bridge.
“Our aim now is to finish in the top eight,” Okumbi told Goal.com.
“We started the league poorly due to a variety of factors and though we have improved in getting results of late, I do not think we can possibly be considered title contenders,” said Okumbi also the Under-20 tactician.
Mathare are currently sitting comfortably in ninth position six points above the drop zone a far cry from the fourteenth position they occupied when Okumbi took charge of the club.
Okumbi said that the absence of key players, captain and defender Anthony Kimani and goalkeeper Martin Musalia for large parts of the first half of the season had contributed to the poor start.
“The team began the season with very many young players but when the more experienced players returned things improved and the younger players started playing with more confidence and it shows with the results we have collected since then.”
Among the youngsters who have been blooded into the Mathare first team include midfielder Tirus Omondi and U-20 international, Brian Odhiambo, the left back drafted from their junior team, striker Jesse Were, who has shouldered most of the goal scoring responsibility with first choice striker Francis Ouma hitting a dry patch in front of goal.
Mathare meet Gor Mahia on Friday in a crucial Kenya premier league match.