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Wazito FC: Three games, zero wins; what's going wrong?

9:34 pm AEST 26/9/19
Dennis Gicheru of Wazito FC.
Many touted the moneybags to dominate the KPL owing to their big-spending on established players, but three games down the line, the talk has changed

Four months ago, Wazito FC won the National Super League after accumulating an impressive 81 points from the 38 games played.

Under the leadership of coach Fred Ambani, the team won 26 games, drew three and lost nine, scoring an impressive 75 goals in the process, and conceding 36 to win automatic promotion to the Kenyan Premier League.

To make their intentions clear, the moneybags went on to spend almost Sh10 Million to sign established players who could help the team win their maiden KPL title.

The notable names brought on board were former Gor Mahia defenders Abouba Sibomana and Karim Nizigiyimana, deadly Kenyan forward Elvis Rupia, who joined from Zambia side Power Dynamos, Derrick Otanga, who scored 13 goals for Sony Sugar the previous season, Ali Abondo, ex Sofapaka striker Pistone Mutamba and goalkeeper Kevin Omondi.

On his Twitter account, club president Ricardo Badoer was optimistic his team was going to have a say in the top tier.

"We will be making other clubs cry like sad babies that need their diapers changed," Badoer wrote after the club completed the signing of former Gor Mahia midfielder Abondo.

During the pre-season competition which included AFC Leopards, KCB and Mathare United, the 2018/19 NSL champions did remarkably well, defeating Ingwe by a solitary goal, drawing 1-1 with the Bankers and defeating the Slum Boys 4-1.

Many believed the big spenders were to emulate Sofapaka, who won the KPL league in their debut 10 years ago. However, coach Sammy Omollo had his reservations.

“Once you sign big names, expectations are high, everyone is expecting the team to do better in the league,” Omollo told Goal in an interview. 

“Of course they have players who will help them and they will retain their status in the top tier," he added. "They will not be relegated for sure, but they will not challenge for the title.

“The best they will do is a top 10 finish, our league is not a walk in the park and we all know the same. It has its big boys, and Wazito will realize soon, despite having a good squad, they will not make it to the top.”

Just three games into the 2019/20 season, it seems the former Harambee Stars defender has been justified.

The defending champions K'Ogalo have collected maximum points from their first two games. Other league contenders Bandari have also managed to get two wins and a draw from their first three games, the same as Kakamega Homeboyz who lead the table thanks to their superior goal difference. 

Wazito opened their season against Nzoia Sugar and needed a late penalty, converted by Rupia, to get a point against Collins Ochieng's side at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.

In their second game against Western Stima, it took the heroics of goalkeeper Kevin Omondi to deny the hosts from bagging maximum points. Even Badoer admitted his side was lucky to get a draw.

“Second game and second draw for Wazito FC," Badoer wrote on Twitter. "Our goalie Kevin [Omondi] for sure saved our ass!!!

“He gets 10 points while the rest of the team get an F as in f*****g s**t. We have a lot of work on our hands.”

Shabana FC coach Gilbert Selebwa believes Wazito made a few mistakes that might come back to haunt them.

"[Wazito] went for stars, people who have already made a name in football and it was their first mistake," the experienced tactician told Goal. "Secondly, overhauling the team which had won the promotion battle was another mistake.

"Continuity is key in any football team, and letting go of the players who had done the donkey work was a bad idea.

"A lot was expected from the team, the objective of winning the league is not realistic and the pressure by the big boss [Badoer] is not helping at all," he added. "In this environment, the players cannot grind positive results for the team because of the pressure placed on their shoulders."

Wazito have a quality side, there is no doubt about it, but it might take some time for them to gel and grind positive results consistently.