Nairobi City Stars head coach Sanjin Alagic has named a 19-man squad for the opening 2020/21 FKF Premier League game against Nzoia Sugar to be played at Narok Stadium on Sunday 29 November 2020 from 1pm.
On many fronts the game is historic as Nairobi City Stars has never faced off with Nzoia Sugar at any level since the club’s inception back in 2003.
Neither has Nairobi City Stars played a game at the Narok Stadium and never has coach Sanjin, who led Simba wa Nairobi to promotion from the National Super League (NSL), ever handled a game in the top flight.
The upcoming game will be Nairobi City Stars’ first Premier League game since 19 November 2016. In between then and the upcoming game, Simba wa Nairobi had been featuring in the second tier following relegation at the end of the 2016 season.
Of the travelling lot, only three players; Oliver Maloba, overall captain Calvin Masawa and Ezekiel Odera are the survivors from the team that played the last game in 2016. Odera scored the team’s 304th and last Premier League goal in that finale.
Field skipper Anthony Muki Kimani, who rejoined the club last year to lead the side to promotion, also makes the team. He last played a Premiership game for City Stars back in 2009.
Beyond those four, the other 15 players heading to Narok will be aiming at clocking their debut games for City Stars in the Premier League.
They include eight offseason signings; keeper Steve Njunge from Wazito, stopper Kenedy Onyango from Kakamega Homeboyz, striker Erick Ombija from Gor Mahia, left back Herit Mungai Atariza and winger Rodgers Okumu from Coast Stima, defensive mid Sven Yidah from Kariobangi Sharks, keeper Elvis Ochoro from Hakati Sportiff and creative mid Timothy Babu Ouma from Laiser Hill Academy, the reigning Rift Valley Chapa Dimba MVP.
Teenage forward Vincent Otieno Okoth, defenders Wycliffe Otieno and Salim Abdalla as well as midfielder Elvis Noor Ojiambo, all of whom joined City Stars in July 2019, are in the list to Narok.
Completing the squad are former Kenya international Peter Pinchez Opiyo, a January 2020 signing, utility back Edwin Buliba and powerful forward Davis Agesa Amuyunzu, the teams’ top scorer in the NSL.
Off the pitch, immediate former captain Noah Abich as well as former skipper and stand-in coach John Amboko will accompany the team to Narok.
This is alongside coach Sanjin, assistant Nihad Nalbantic, team physio Brian Odongo.
Nihad, a former keeper in his hey days in Serbia, will fill up for keeper trainer Zachary Onyango who is unavailable.
Goal keepers: 23. Steve Njunge, 1. Elvis Ochoro
Defenders: 28. Herit Mungai Atariza, 25. Kenedy Onyango, 4. Salim Abdalla, 22. Wycliffe Otieno, 12. Edwin Buliba, 8. Calvin Masawa,
Midfielders: 2. Elvis Noor Ojiambo, 10. Peter Opiyo, 30. Anthony Kimani, 21. Oliver Maloba, 18. Sven Yidah, 20. Timothy Ouma, 7. Rodgers Okumu
Strikers: 24. Erick Ombija, 11. Davis Agesa, 9. Vincent Otieno, 32. Ezekiel Odera
Not traveling: Ebrima Sanneh, Yusuf Mukisa Lubowa, Charles Otieno (injuries), Jimmy Bageya, Jacob Osano (sickness), Wesley Onguso, John Kamau, Azizi Okaka
Technical bench: Sanjin Alagic (Head Coach), Nihad Nalbantic, Noah Abich, John Amboko (assistant coaches), Brian Odongo (Physio), Neville Pudo (Team Manager), Winnie Nyasiri (Media)
Management: Samson Otieno (Team coordinator)