SportPesa Premier League side Sofapaka is assembling a new look squad that will hunt for elusive title according to newly appointed coach Medo Melis.
The Egyptian-born turned American, who replaced interim coach John Baraza a fortnight ago, has roped in nine new faces among them Burundian international custodian Justin Ndikumana from DR Congo side Saint Eloi Lupopo and Rwandese international defender Soter Kayumba.
Others are former Nakumatt duo of defender Faina Jacobs, midfielder Tom Adwar and striker John Avirre, left back Titus Achesa from Posta Rangers, winger Ibrahim Kajuba, goalkeepers Richard Aimo (Chemelil Sugar) and Isaiah Wakasala (Ushuru).
The 2009 champions, who finished fifth on the league standings last season, have released nine players namely Ugandan shot-stopper Mathias Kigonya who joined Kakamega Homeboyz, Posta Rangers-bound Wycliffe Kasaya, speedy winger Kevin Kimani, striker Timothy Luda, defender Rodgers Aloro and forward Ezekiel Okare who joined Tusker and Ulinzi Stars in that order.
Kenyan international midfielder Bernard Mang’oli, who has since signed for promoted Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Reuben Juma and Edmond Kwanya were not spared either.
Batoto ba Mungu are also bound to lose Kenya Under-23 international midfielder Teddy Osok who is rumoured to be heading to second tier side Wazito after his season-long loan deal from Gor Mahia elapsed last month.
“I like the players, they are all talented and hungry to represent Sofapaka and more so, play for me, I am happy to have them,” confessed Medo after seeing his charges thrash Ruiru AllStars 6-0 in a preseason friendly match at Ruiru stadium on Thursday.
He added: “We are trying to build the chemistry and we need everybody involved, it’s a new culture.
“Trophies will come but you’ve to work for them, everybody is expecting something, we need to be patient and ask how we can get there, if we play decent football goals will come plus the three points, in the end we will be top of the table but its one step at a time.”
Medo, who opens this transitional 2018/2019 season against his former employers Mount Kenya United, formerly Nakumatt on December 8 at Ruaraka grounds, is hopeful of minimal injuries.
After earning the coach’s praise, Burundian custodian Ndikumana has placed winning the title and doing much better than his predecessor Kigonya, his top priorities at the club.
“If he (Kigonya) was doing better here then I will do even more, it’s in itself a motivation to work harder,” said the 25-year-old Ndikumana.