There has been a lot of hue and cry about Muhoroni Youth’s relegation after their disastrous show against Kariobangi Sharks in the 32nd round of the 2017 Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season. Granted, the club’s loyalists have a right to mourn the relegation of their team but for lack of a better word, it’s relegation was good riddance.
It was the best thing to happen to the best league in the East African region and Kenya in particular. The performance against Sharks, a 7 – 0 mauling at Kasarani summed up the season that Muhoroni had and to an extent the team’s life in the top flight – pathetic.
Apart from stealing a few headlines here and there with the win over Gor Mahia in the KPL Top 8 in 2016, and maybe beating Gor Mahia in their first ever meeting in 2012, there isn’t much to write about this club that was everything except what football should be.
In playing the devil’s advocate, the club went through much struggle to get to the top flight, and that has to be appreciated, but the club never lived to the stature of a premier league team; the mere existence in the top flight was vexatious.
With poor marketing attempts and unprofessional management of the club, their dalliance with the premier was well curved out to be a short, painful experience for anyone who values dignity in the treatment of staff – coaches and players.
Muhoroni Youth’s promotion to the premier league was not in the most of transparent ways. Moses Adagala, the club’s despotic owner, chairman, financier, decision maker and chief executive is for a lack of better comparison, a cancer to Kenyan football. He used his connections with former Kenya Football Federation (KFF) chairman, Sam Nyamweya to get the club promoted to the KPL.
The Adagala/Nyamweya partnership thrived so well at a time Kenyan football was at its lowest in terms of performance as a direct derivative from the way it was managed and teams would get points for the flimsiest of reasons, none of them sporting. For example players from the same team having different shades of socks was enough to get a team docked points and the opponent awarded; or matches being rescheduled at short notice to ensure the opponent doesn’t show up.
The rift between Nyamweya’s KFF and Mohamed Hatimy’s Football Kenya Limited (FKL) really helped Adagala play his agenda in Kenyan football. After picking free points all season, he had the comfort of sitting atop the second tier in the western zone waiting to be walked to the premier league by Godfather Nyamweya as the KFF and FKL each produced a team to make the two promoted.
Shamelessly, Adagala dished out a plan for the team to clinch the KPL title in five years – that should have been 2017.
Soon after getting their spot in the KPL, the absolutist Adagala showed his true colors, that of a man who does not believe in fairness. And the Muhoroni Stadium became the den of hooliganism; where visiting teams would be harassed to knock them off balance before, during and, sadly, even after matches.
This did not only end with the teams. The opposing fans would also get clobbered for supporting their teams and getting to know none of the team’s remaining three matches will be staged at the Muhoroni Stadium is the best feel.
Throughout the team’s stay in the top flight, Adagala has not been the best employer, at least to coaches. The club’s exit/entry door has swung severally with the mindless dismissals and hiring of coaches, none leaving the club with fond memories. Not even Tom Juma, the legendary former Kenyan international who won the club its only piece of silverware.
In 2017 alone, the club has had five coaches; Ugandan Richard Pinto, James Omondi, Gilbert Selebwa, George Maina and Jeff Odongo. Adagala has tinkered with the coaching department at will, just like one would scratch his balls.
Coach Omondi, popularly known as Odijo, has been the most abused – used as the caretaker tactician when coaches are fired, until a new man is employed. His thoroughly faded Muhoroni Youth jacket and annoying head gear the depiction of a loyalist but also devoid of options and always willing to be manhandled by Adagala and cohorts.
It is hard to count the stints he has come back to the team’s aid but one memorable occurrence was when he was dumped in the middle of nowhere at night after the team lost a game in Mumias.
Perhaps, the club is living to former coach, Alfred Imonje’s curse. Imonje was the first man to handle Muhoroni Youth in the premier league, but just as his successor and many more, he was manhandled and left in acrimony after two troubled stints.
Adagala’s wish to one day win the premier league may never come to fruition, the sole reason being the manner in which he handles the most important members in a team – players. I struggle to remember a transfer window where the team has not had a mass exodus of players.
Complaints of unpaid dues, harassment and being unfairly targeted are a norm at Muhoroni. The lowest the club sank was when players were attacked in their residential areas in 2015, apparently after threatening to down tools in protest over unpaid dues.
Not many established players look forward to joining Muhoroni Youth, which has forced the team to go to the lower leagues and neighboring Uganda for talent. These players, once exposed seek moves out and the cycle continues.
Blessing for Kenyan football
KPL followers will miss Muhoroni the area; will miss the breathtaking view and the winding roads of Got Alila, but we will not miss Muhoroni Youth. Teams with such mentality as the Muhoroni Youth management’s should not be allowed anywhere near the Kenyan Premier League, not even in the National Super League (NSL).
Perhaps relegation from the KPL spells the death of Muhoroni Youth FC and while it may come with job and revenue losses, maybe it is the blessing Kenyan football has been waiting for, at least at that level.