Shabana coach identifies what must change if they have to avoid Premier League failure

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FOOTBALL Shabana coach identifies what must change if they have to avoid Premier League failure

Joel Omotto 19:11 - 29.07.2023

The tactician has warned the club hierarchy against veering off the plan unless they want a relegation fight.

Shabana FC head coach Sammy Okoth (pictured) has urged the club to ensure the players’ welfare is taken care of if they have to avoid fighting relegation in the Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) next season.

Tore Bobe earned top-flight promotion after a 17-year wait and crowed it off by winning the second-tier National Super League (NSL) title following a flawless season but Okoth expects a tough ride in the 2023-2024 season.

The tactician is cognizant of the team’s struggles during their NSL campaign when the club found it difficult to pay the players while relying on well-wishers and gate collections to sustain the team, something he feels cannot be allowed to happen again next season.

“So far, we have not made any new signing because if we had, it would have been easy to plan but we resume on Monday, and then is when we will know who we have. We cannot start thinking about others when the ones who are here have not been taken care of,” Okoth told Pulse Sports after witnessing his side get rewarded by the Ministry of Sports at the Champions’ Reception on Friday night.

“We still do not know who from the squad we had last season will come back and who will not. Then, in the NSL, things were not good in terms of payment so it was difficult for us. I believe after our promotion, things will need to change so we have to look at this before we decide the way forward.

“I will know the plans the club has on Monday when we resume training because there is no player who has signed a contract and nothing has happened yet.”

While he is worried that planning for the new season is taking longer than he had anticipated, Okoth’s only hope is that he will end up with a squad of his liking, since anything away from the plan will be a recipe for disaster.

“In the Premier League, the players must first be taken good care of to the extent that they do not sleep hungry and think of doing side hustles after training. Their attention and concentration must be on the league. They need to train hard and think of how to win games,” said Okoth.

“The situation should be good so that there is no excuse when we do not win but if there are things like that, then it is like preparing to fail. In the NSL, we decided to persevere and play but it is not easy in the Premier League.”

The tactician also discussed the need for a good start to their Premier League campaign as it will set the tone for what they will achieve in the rest of the season.

“In the NSL, there are so many games you can recover any time but in the Premier League once you have a bad start, recovering becomes difficult. Those are the things that need to be addressed so that when we start preparations, there are no distractions,” added the former Vihiga United coach.

“When you start poorly with young players, they develop fear and you start underperforming but if everything is in place, there cannot be problems.”

Shabana will begin their Premier League campaign with an away clash to Kariobangi Sharks on August 26.