Will Mathare survive the chop?

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Could we be seeing the last of Mathare United in the top flight football.

Nothing seems to be going right for the one time most organized club of Kenyan football that had a complete youth system to tap talent from.

Even the return of the title winning coaches Francis Kimanzi and his assistant Salim Ali last season seem not to have come with better tidings as the slum boys are rooted at the bottom of the Kenyan Premier league.

Gone are the days when Mathare United was known for its attractive flair, the crisp passing free flowing football that was a marvel to watch. Gone are the days when the slum boys would be a hard nut to beat, gone are the days when Mathare United would produce a huge chunk of players to the national team.

From Dennis Oliech, Robert Oguda, the Mulama brothers Simeon and Titus, George “Tompo” Midenyo, Edgar Ochieng “fighter” Sammy Kiongi, Ambrose Kamau…..the list is endless, MathareUnited has had talent, a far cry of what Francis Kimanzi, himself a former player at the club has now in his arsenal, that not forgetting that Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) was at one point the best churner of talent in the country.

“Its difficult now because we are not getting the quality we want,” Kimanzi once said in an interview.

“We have to make do with what we have. Further, the transfer market has become very competitive and you cannot stop a player from moving to a club of his choice,” he added.

Relegation seems to be beckoning on the slum boys if they do not improve on their current performance. They have won only two games out of 16 and lost eight having scored the least number of goals (10) and conceded the most (20) in the competition.

“Of course none of us is happy with the performance and we must do something to improve,” Kimanzi said.

“But the players must wholesomely show they are willing to lift themselves from the current position,”he added.

Club Chief Executive Officer Jectone Obure however says they will survive relegation ultimately.

“We have very young players who have no KPL experience. We play well, create chances but do not bury them. It is my belief that we will survive,” he said.

But with every match that passes, the slum boys continue to sink deeper and deeper.

Champions in 2008 and runners up the following year, Mathare United has over the last five years struggled to finish among the top five and in the last three been among the candidates for the chop, only surviving by the skin of their teeth.

All is not lost though with 18 matches to go before the close of the season.

But the question is: Do they have the will to fight survival?

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