Once touted as the Manchester City of Kenya due to its financial prowess, things seem to be falling apart for Football Kenya Federation Premier League side Wazito this season.
The team, which used to flex its financial muscle in the league attracting talented and big names from broke clubs like Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards, is now a pale shadow of its former self if the current turn of events is anything to go by.
The 4-2 -defeat to bottom placed Vihiga Bullets on Sunday at Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega compounded more misery for coach Francis Kimanzi’s side.
The team lies in 16th place in the 18 table team with a paltry nine points from 13 games. They have won only two games this season.
So could it be that the club’s flashy owner and flamboyant Swedish businessman Ricardo Badoer, who once referred to disgruntled players at the club as hyenas, has gone broke?
So dire is the financial situation at Wazito that after the Vihiga Bullets game, players have decided to boycott training session with others opting to leave the club during the mid-season transfer window, which opened on January 9 and ends on February 15.
The boycott now puts the team’s weekend clash against struggling Nzoia Sugar in jeopardy since in the game against Bullets, coach Francis Kimanzi had only 16 players at his disposal.
Some of the players reported to have left the club are strikers Eric Gichimu, Maurice Ojwang’, Kenyan internationals Cliff Nyakeya, midfielder Kevin Kimani, Vincent Oburu among others.
Ojwang, who crossed to Wazito from record league champions Gor Mahia two seasons ago, told Nation Sport that he has been forced to relocate to his rural home in Kisumu because of being broke and unable to pay rent among other bills.
“I had no choice but to return to my home and engage in other activities as I look for another team. I couldn’t pay rent and meet my needs because I haven’t been paid for four months. It was a tough decision but I rather stay here in the village and figure out how to survive,” said the 25-year-old defender.
“I’m looking for another team and if the opportunity comes my way, I will go and pick my release letter from Wazito. The problem is that the management has been giving us false promises week in week out,” he added.
He added that he left for the village empty handed and is yet to receive a penny from the club.
Contacted, Wazito CEO Dennis Gicheru said the matter is being sorted out by the management.
“I’m aware of the issue and we are working on a solution,” said Gicheru, a former Wazito player.
Kimanzi confirmed that players have boycotted training sessions and their poor performance in the league is due to financial distress at the club.
“A number of players are no longer training with the club but it is my hope that things will turn around because I have good plans for this team,” said a seemingly dejected Kimanzi.
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