Bandani Football Club in were crowned Kisumu County League Zone B champions last weekend with a 2-0 win on the road to Makosir FC.
Having already dispatched fellow title contenders Nyalenda United in the third last round of the fixtures, the former Division 2 side now only had to win their last clash of the season in order to emerge top- they did just that, and coach John Odipo lauds this as one of the pillars onto which they are building a stronger team able to sustain itself in the top tiers.
Bandani, who played in the fourth tier last year but dropped down due to finances, may not have everything going for them even with the promotion but are a team that carried vital lessons from their last stint in the Div 2.
”We dropped a tier down due to financial constraints. So we are basically starting from scratch and one of the key areas we wanted to strengthen was how we market ourselves as a team,” Odipo tells Soka after playing a friendly match against Kenyan Premier League side Kisumu All Stars.
He says he has a stronger team now and wants to gauge his team’s performance against All Stars in the friendly match from just the first half alone.
Despite taking a first-half lead, Bandani fell 5-1 to the premiership side in a match played one hour for each half.
”I’d say there is a lot more quality now than before and we have improved. I only assess my team in the first half we played against All Stars and we did well,” he says.
”In the league, the financial constraints have always persisted but we managed simply because it was the county league,” continues the tactician.
His assistant, Nicholas Obora, however, has a few reservations about the team’s future in the fourth tier Division 2. They may have qualified but to him, the very challenges they faced last year still lie waiting if they do not get a way out.
”I cannot say with certainty that we are financially equipped to play Div two but we have qualified. We have a very strong team that can even play even in division one,” Obora says.
There could be hope for the side that plays its home matches at the Molasses grounds next to Kisumu International Aiport, however. Odipo looks at a way in which they can keep their players properly motivated throughout the season so that they don’t always have to deal with making new cards for new players as others move out in the course of the season.
”We have been there in Div 2 and learned. We forfeited some of the matches. So we are doing early preparations so that we remain sustainable. We also want to sustain our players, even if it means just some small token of appreciation because we do not have a sponsor,” he concludes.
Bandani now awaits the winner of Kisumu County League Zone A for a final showdown in the championship play-off- the winner, ultimately being crowned Kisumu County 2018-19 Champion. The title is currently being held by Manyatta United, 2019 Chapa Dimba na Safaricom National champions.