The ultimate goal of clubs plying their trade in the Kenyan Premier League is to lay hands on the diadem at the end of the season and earn a ticket to the Caf Champions League.
However, 2018 Shield Cup winners Kariobangi Sharks are reading from a different script as they have no intentions of muscling for the trophy in the next three seasons.
Instead, the club which is part of the four yet to win a league match in the 2019-2020 season, is focusing on building a formidable youthful squad comprised of Kenyan players for commercial purposes.
Sharks launched their campaign with a two-all draw against Western Stima before playing AFC Leopards to a barren draw. The outfit fell 3-0 to Kakamega Homeboyz in their third match played last weekend at the Bukhungu Stadium.
The 2017 beaten Shield Cup finalists have a penchant for rookies in their transfer business and have revealed their plan of concentrating on building their current squad to be ready for Europe market rather than eyeing the league honours.
The club chairman, Robert Maoga, said player transfer business to the overseas league would stabilize their capsizing financial ship before jostling for the league. Sharks reaped an approximated Sh11 million from the sale of their striker Masoud Juma to Cape Town City FC in 2018.
They stand to bank more in development fees should their former winger Ovella Ochieng get a better deal in Sweden. Ochieng currently turns out for IF Vasuland.
“We have no interest in winning the league in the next three years. Our focus is on developing our youthful team to be ready for European markets. Through the sale of players, we will be able to sort the financial challenges we are facing. If we can ship two players to Europe, we will be able to run for a whole season without financial hitches. At the moment, it’s tough to compete for the trophy with clubs which are financially stable or have shirt sponsors.”
Maoga, a KPL executive committee member, has urged the Kenyan clubs to adopt the youth structure for foreign players to the advantage of the national teams.
“Clubs are desperate for trophies without regarding the growth of local football and that’s why they import players. If we can change tact and build on our own players, then all our national teams will flourish.”