Total blackout at Western Stima as players leave penniless club en masse
Just days after losing coach Salim Babu to money bags Wazito, a mass exodus of players is looming at the Kenyan Premier League side Western Stima due to heavy financial constraints at the club.
The club has been struggling financially since June when their erstwhile sponsors Kenya Power Company terminated the sponsorship, citing the effects of Covid-19.
A member of the team’s technical bench staff who spoke to Nairobi News on condition of anonymity said the contract of 20 players ended in June and only five players are currently under contract.
The Kisumu-based club always sign players on one year contracts and it can’t sign new players as the transfer window opens today due to lack of finance.
“The club is undergoing a tough financial situation and cannot sign other players or tie the current ones to a longer contract. Some of our dependable players have left while others have told me they won’t be back. Out of 25 players in the team, only five currently have their contracts running,” said the source.
Some of the dependable players who have left the club are teenage striker and schoolboy Benson Omala, who has signed for reigning champions Gor Mahia, and Fidel Origa, who recently joined Wazito on a three-year contract.
Goalkeeper Samuel Njau, defenders Kelvin Wasonga and Sydney Ochieng have been linked to Gor Mahia while Maurice Ojwang, who played for K’Ogalo before returning to Western Stima, is also on his way out after his contract expired.
Western Stima chairman Laban Jobita acknowledged that a number of his players are on their way out and revealed that he has sent proposals to a number of companies as he looks for a new sponsor.
“I wish those who are leaving the best in their careers. What is important now is looking for a new sponsor to complement the one from the league,” said Jobita.
The veteran official also disclosed that he is in no hurry to look for a new coach but would hire one before the league kicks off.
“This region (Nyanza) has good coaches and talented players. I will not go far in seeking Babu’s replacement. I started this team years ago with young talented players from this region and would still do so even if the current financial condition makes others leave,” he said.
A much improved Western Stima stands seventh on the KPL log on 36 points after 23 rounds of matches. The season was prematurely halted on March 16 after the first case of coronavirus was reported in the country on March 13.