Embattled National Super League (NSL) side Northern Wanderers will revert to its former identity as Eldoret Youth after a tough run in the opening 10 rounds of the season.
The team changed names at the end of last season after being acquired by a group of North Eastern Kenya businessmen, who struggled to finance it in the second tier and after eight straight losses and one walkover, it was disbanded.
Peter Kipchirchir, who owned the team, under the Eldoret Youth banner, has confirmed taking back its ownership and will embark on a process of process of trying to keep it afloat.
Without a player at its disposal, Kipchirchir has made an application to the Football Kenya Federation (FKF), to be allowed to sign in between transfer windows, and confirmed that a number of players who served the club in its former identity are willing to retake their places.
“Yes I have acquired the team back and we are talking with the relevant stakeholders concerning the way forward. For a start we have asked the federation to allow us sign players.
“As it is now, we do not have any player in the team; when it was disbanded all players left. So as we make plans, I have spoken to my former players and they are very willing to come back. In fact some have even started training in preparation,” he told Soka.
He is not only hopeful that his application to the federation will be approved, Kipchirchir, who takes charge of the team at the bottom of the log, is confident that they can finish as high as 12th.
“We are aware the team has struggled and as I take charge, I acknowledge that indeed we are starting at a disadvantage but this is just a temporary situation. Once we get players, things will be better and we will improve on our league position.
“I believe we will get out of the relegation zone. My target is to go as high as 12th place at the end of the season,” he added.
Upon changing hands, at the close of last season, Eldoret Youth was bought out at an agreement of Kshs 5m, with Kshs 1m paid upfront and the rest to be paid by August 2019.
The promise to pay the Kshs 4m balance was not kept, and with the default, Kipchirchir could swiftly take back ownership. In the wake of financial struggles in Kenyan football, he is confident they will find a way out.
“When we decided to change ownership of the team, we were facing serious financial challenges. I had someone who was helping me run the club but due to family issues he pulled out and we had to struggle towards the end of that season.
“So we agreed on a payout of Kshs 5m but they could only pay Kshs 1m and by defaulting on the contract we had, then going on to disband the team, we had to take it back.
“I acknowledge that we have financial problems both at the team and in football in the country generally but I remain optimistic that we will surmount them,” he added.
Heading to the 12th round of matches, the team is rock bottom of the NSL with no point earned.