Spare a thought for FKF Division One league teams


By NICK OLUOCH
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The Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Division One football league will kick off in a few weeks across the country, but even the most ardent of football fans would struggle to name teams, or even a handful of players taking part in the country’s third-tier league.

And while teams across the country are gearing up for the big kick-off, scheduled for October 12, all signs are that, once more, the league will continue being in the shadows of the more illustrious Kenyan Premier League (KPL) and, to a large extent, the National Super League (NSL).

And it gets even gloomier for the Division One League; lack of television coverage for the matches means that chances of players getting noticed by talent scouts during league matches, and being scouted into the higher leagues are almost nil.

Players are left with the unenviable task of either making it to the higher leagues by whatever means, or just kissing bye to their slim chances of making football a career.

At Nyakiamo grounds in Sori, Migori County, Omondi Aol, who is head coach of newly-promoted Division One League team Sindo United is only too aware of the challenges that his team will be facing in their maiden season in the third-tier football league, the team having just earned promotion after winning the Division Two League.

“Lack of exposure through live television broadcast of matches remains one of the biggest hindrances to talent development in this league,” Aol, who has also coached the Under-19 team of Kenyan Premier League team Sony Sugar says, adding that whereas some of the best football talent in the county feature in the division, lack of hope of ever making it in football means a number of players give up on the game within a few years to try their hands in other activities with better promises.

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Another problem facing nearly all the Division One League teams is financial challenges, with fans urging FKF to review the rule requiring teams to pay allowances for referees handling their games.

The argument is that, having teams pay referees could compromise officiating of matches.

Luckily for Sindo, the club has got sponsorship from the Jefferson Group which helps it pay players training and winning bonuses.

This means the players at least have something at the end of the month.

And just like last season, competition for the three slots available in the NSL for promoted teams is expected to be even tougher, with Sindo expected to battle it out with the likes of Transmara FC, Gusii FC, Kisumu Hot Stars and fellow newcomers GDC, a battle the club CEO Vin Kisuga is confident they are more than capable of winning.


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