National Super League side Shabana FC is the latest club to be hit with financial woes as players are demanding for their April and May arrears.
Finances seem to be the biggest if not the only problem ailing Kenyan clubs. Just this year, top Kenyan clubs including Gor Mahia, Mount Kenya United and Green Commandos have been hit with financial woes.
In most of these cases, teams have wasted matches as players boycott them demanding for salary and bonus arrears. It is only Gor Mahia that managed to honour its fixture when they were at their lowest but they lost the match 5-1 to Moroccan side RS Berkane.
The case is no different for 8th placed Shabana FC. For the past week, 15 players with two officials including Assistant Coach Peter Kanuli have been on strike. These players failed to show up for their match against Administration Police leaving Coach Gilbert Selebwa with 14 players to chose from.
A team is allowed to field 11 players and have not more than 6 players on the bench. With only three players on the bench, Selebwa had very little options to explore. However, his side managed a barren draw against the law enforcers. Shabana’s tactician gave credit to the players who showed up for the match mentioning that it was mainly reserve players who did so.
The strike at Shabana is likely to affect the NSL on Wednesday as they face Nairobi Stima, a team battling neck to neck with Wazito FC for the title.
A win for Nairobi Stima will see them temporarily go on top of the table in the event Wazito draw or lose against Talanta. Wazito, however, have a match in hand. Shabana’s match against Nairobi Stima is crucial for the title race as well as the promotion battle. Even if Nairobi Stima do not win the title, a win tomorrow will see them edge closer to promotion.
It is not the first time in the country that crucial matches are given away because of shackles within clubs. In the top tier this season, Mt Kenya United gave away points to Gor Mahia after failing to show up for the match. The points were crucial to Gor as they went ahead to win the title before the league came to an end.
The main thing that ails sports in the country is the management, especially when it comes to finances. Some teams lack the financing completely while others have funds that are poorly managed.
It is a high time for club management to improve and reduce cases of club shackles affecting the entire league.