The just-ended National Super League (NSL) season exposed raw talent on the pitch but equally unearthed tactical brilliance of certain youthful coaches.
Francis Oduor, in his debut season as head coach at Kisumu Allstars, has confounded sceptics by not only gaining promotion to the SportPesa Premier League but also doing so on a shoestring budget.
The 48-year-old former Kenyan international was handed the reins after Nickanor Aketch was shown the door and has so far proven his doubters wrong as the lakeside outfit finished second in the competitive championship.
Oduor’s tactical acumen has won him many admires including former Harambee Stars tactician James Nandwa, who handled relegated Kangemi Allstars and Thika United at some point.
“It is a very composed side that has a unique brand of football. I feel Oduor deserves the Coach of The Year Award because what he has done with so little is fantastic,” said Nandwa.
Bidco United and Kenya Police were also some of the teams that performed beyond expectations and coaches Anthony Akhulia and Charles Omondi have been credited for this.
Akhulia’s Bidco finished fifth with 65 points. Police, under Omondi, and Nairobi Stima, guided by Evans Mafuta, also made good strides, the former finishing sixth while the latter is set for a promotion playoff after winding up third.
It is the first time Stima are in the playoffs and this is down to the entrance of George Owoko and subsequently Mafuta.