It’s the end of an era as dead ball specialist Noah Abich (Noah Otieno Odhiambo) has called it a day as a footballer.
Abich Baba, as he is fondly referred to, has moved off from the pitch to take up a coaching role at Nairobi City Stars, his last duty station for the past two seasons.
His step-out from the pitch to the bench brings an end to an illustrious football career spanning close to 20 years.
His last league game for City Stars was a round 11 National Super League (NSL) game against Mt. Kenya United at Camp Toyoyo on Saturday 27 Oct 2019, a game that ended 1-1.
Abich arrived at Simba Wa Nairobi in April 2019 during the second leg of the transitional NSL 2018/19 season. He led from the front as the captain and scored eight times to top score for the club leading them to relegation survival.
In the 2019/20 season his mentorship and guidance saw the club promoted back to the Premier League to regain their premiership status lost at the end of the 2016 season.
“I wish to make it official that I have retired from football as a player. You can now refer to me as a coach as that is my new direction,”
“It’s been a long journey that has had highs and lows. I am now at a point where I want to give back by nurturing the next crop of players. I thank City Stars for allowing me to wind down my playing days and for ultimately giving me the opportunity at their technical bench to start my coaching journey at a high level.”
The transiting Abich has received adoration from City Stars team coordinator Samson Otieno who said;
“He’s been a dedicated servant who gave his all on the pitch. We counted on him to survive relegation when the team needed an experienced hand in the 2018/19 season and he came through for us in a big way with important deliveries and goals. It is now our turn to hold his hand as he ventures into the other side of his career which is coaching.”
City Stars CEO Patrick Korir added his voice to Abich’s change-over;
“We thank him for his dedication and diligence to the team and will support him as he scales upward to coaching. He is part of a long term plan and we will endeavor to build his capacity as we go along.” he said
The former Thur Gem and Makokho Mixed Secondary School alumnus started his competitive football at Premiership side Nzoia Sugar before moving to Chemelil Sugar. He completed his sugar belt circuit with a move to Sony Sugar in 2006 for two seasons.
He arrived at Tusker thereafter and rested back-to-back Premiership titles in 2011 and 2012. Next was a short stint at Nakuru AllStars which led him to the ranks of AFC Leopards. Later on he sampled Kakamega Homeboyz, Mathare United, Sofapaka, Bandari and Nakumatt before making a bee-line for City Stars in 2019.
The former Kenya U20 and National team player bagged several individual awards in his playing career including being the best scoring Premiership defender at Sony Sugar in 2008 and at Mathare United in 2015. Not forgetting with City Stars at the end of the 2018/19 NSL season.
Abich who has lately been coaching youngsters at Zimmerman currently holds a ‘D’ license coaching Diploma and has a chance to learn from UEFA Pro coach Sanjin Alagic from Bosnia, the current head coach at City Stars.
Abich follows Arthur Museve to the City Stars bench. Museve ended his lengthy City Stars playing career at the close of the 2018/19 NSL season to take up a trainers’ role at the club.
Nairobi City Stars training at Camp Toyoyo in March 2020. Noah Abich (No. 17) is now retired