Nairobi City Stars coach Nicholas Muyoti's journey from player to mentor, overcoming obstacles and achieving success in Kenyan football.
Nairobi City Stars head coach Nicholas Muyoti has shared a captivating story of his journey from a turbulent period in his playing days to his current role as a prominent coach in Kenyan football.
Muyoti, who began his career at Kenyatta Hospital FC and later captained AFC Leopards around 2002, opened up about a challenging period in his career when he attempted to make a move to Uganda.
It was the early 2000s, and Muyoti, a young and talented footballer, was making waves as the captian of AFC Leopards. However, as is sometimes the case in the beautiful game, financial turmoil and off-field controversies threatened to shatter his dreams.
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In a candid interview, Muyoti revealed how his suspension from AFC Leopards became the catalyst for an unexpected turn of events that led him to cross borders in pursuit of his football dreams.
"There was a financial crisis at the club after the exit of Francis Chahonyo, and as a captain, I had to speak on behalf of the teammates. We went on strike, and then the management suspended me, Tonny Lwanga, and Francis Oduor, claiming that we had led the strike," Muyoti recounted on Tiki Taka Show.
Desperate and with limited options, Muyoti, along with his friends Tonny Lwanga and Francis Oduor, decided to take matters into their own hands.
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"Due to the difficult financial situation, I had to vacate my house and move to Kawangware. It was during this time that a friend suggested we could try our luck in Uganda," Muyoti explained.
Their journey to Uganda was not your typical football transfer. An AFC Leopards fan who worked at Maningo Bus turned out to be their savior.
"This friend informed us about someone at Maningo Bus, which ferried passengers to Kampala. The great thing was that this person was an AFC Leopards fan. He helped us arrange transportation in a courier bus to Uganda, but we weren't sure which team we would join," he added.
Upon arriving in Uganda, fate smiled upon them. David Oti, a former KCCA FC, then known as KCC FC coach who had also coached in Kenya, took an interest in the trio.
They tried out for KCC, although they did not secure contracts. Nevertheless, KCC's recommendation led them to Horizon FC in Western Uganda, where they went for trials and successfully passed. There was just one major hurdle: they had to return to Kenya to obtain release letters from AFC Leopards.
Returning to Kenya was an emotional rollercoaster for Muyoti and his friends. They explained their situation to AFC Leopards, and while Lwanga and Oduor were granted release letters, the chairman at the time refused to release Muyoti.
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"Frustrated with the situation, I decided to resign, and in 2002, I managed to secure a move to Thika United," Muyoti said, reflecting on the tough decision that eventually changed the course of his career.
Muyoti's journey was far from over. He left Thika United after four seasons and embarked on an international adventure, signing his first professional contract with Sporting Afrique in Singapore.
After a season in Singapore, he continued his global football odyssey by joining Churchill Brothers in India before making a move to Sporting Club de Goa in the same country.
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In 2008, Muyoti made the long-awaited return to his homeland, Kenya. He signed with Thika United for one season, showcasing his continued dedication to the sport he loved.
Later, he plied his trade for Sher Karuturi and Sofapaka before making an emotional return to AFC Leopards, where he ultimately hung up his boots in 2011.
Muyoti's contributions extended beyond club football; he donned the national team jersey for Harambee Stars, earning 17 caps and scoring two goals for Kenya.
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Retirement marked the beginning of a new chapter for Muyoti. Eager to remain involved in the game, he diligently pursued his coaching badges. His dedication was recognized, and he served in various capacities at AFC Leopards, including assistant coach and team manager.
His coaching journey expanded to include stints with Oserian FC, Zetech University, Thika United, Nzoia Sugar, and Kakamega Homeboyz. Through each role, Muyoti continued to impart his football knowledge and passion for the game to the next generation of talents in Kenya.
Today, Nicholas Muyoti stands as the head coach of Nairobi City Stars, a testament to his unwavering commitment to the sport that has been his life's passion.
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His journey, from being smuggled into Uganda to a successful playing and coaching career, is a source of inspiration for aspiring footballers and coaches across Kenya.