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Players exodus hits ‘broke’ Wazito

A mass exodus of players is looming at Wazito as the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League side, once touted as among the most financially stable, appears to struggle to remain afloat.

In its heyday, the club, owned by flashy businessman Ricardo Badoer flexed its financial muscles by luring talented and big names from all clubs in the competition including Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards.

But that was then.

Now, the side appears a pale shadow of its former self if the current turn of events is something to go by.

The 4-2 -defeat to bottom-placed Vihiga Bullets in a league match in Kakamega at the weekend, coming hot on the heels of another 4-1 loss to Posta Rangers in a midweek clash days earlier also shows the club has lost its touch on the football pitch despite boasting the services of experienced trainer Francis Kimanzi in the dugout.

The team currently lies 16th on the 18 table team standings with a paltry nine points from 13 games and as things are currently flirting with relegation.

The only two wins the side has recorded were against Ulinzi Stars (1-0) on December 4 and 4-1 thumping of second last Mathare United on December 19.

So could it be that the flashy owner and flamboyant Badoer struggling to fund the club?

So dire is the financial situation at Wazito that after the Bullets game, players have reportedly opted to boycott training sessions with others threatening to quit.

The boycott now puts the team this weekend’s clash against struggling Nzoia Sugar in jeopardy since Kimanzi reportedly had only 16, out of a possible 18 players at his disposal versus Bullets.

Some of the players who are said to be on their way out include strikers Eric Gichimu, Maurice Ojwang’, plus Kenyan internationals Cliff Nyakeya, midfielder Kevin Kimani, and Vincent Oburu.

Ojwang who crossed to Wazito from Gor Mahia two seasons ago told Nairobi News that he’s been forced to relocate to his rural home in Kisumu because of being broke and unable to pay rent among other bills.

“I had no choice but to return to my home and engage in other activities as I look for another team. I couldn’t pay rent and meet my needs because I haven’t been paid now for four months. It was a tough decision but I rather stay here in the village and figure out how to survive,” he explained.

“I’m looking for another team and if the opportunity comes my way, I will go and pick my release letter from Wazito. The problem is that the management has been giving us false promises week in week out, and yet they don’t materialize,” he added.

Contacted, Wazito Chief Executive Dennis Gicheru admitted the club was seeking a solution to the financial challenges.

“I’m aware of the issue and we are working on a solution,” said Gicheru, also a former Wazito player.

Kimanzi confirmed players have boycotted training sessions and the poor performance in the league is due to financial distress at the club.

“A number of players are no longer training with the club but it is my hope that things will turn around because I have good plans for this team,” said a seemingly dejected Kimanzi.