Rowland Makati during a match 9, 2023-24 FKF PRemier LEague tie against Muranga SEAL in Muranga on 1 Nov 2023
Rowland Makati during a match 9, 2023-24 FKF PRemier LEague tie against Muranga SEAL in Muranga on 1 Nov 2023

Rowland Makati: I have fully adapted

Converted right back Rowland Makati reckons his growth path as a fullback has finally hit peak.

The search for regular playtime necessitated a position change for the youngster from attacking midfielder to his current position since the start of the 2022-23 FKF Premier League season.

A season and a half later, Makati has gone on to claim 27 premier league games as a right back, or up front on the right channel, numbers that now excite the former Escalators and Vapor Sports player.

Before that, Makati had only featured in two games for Simba wa Nairobi as an attacking mid in his first two seasons at the club.

“I first had to learn the dynamics and the ropes of the new position. That has been a continuous process throughout last season and this season,”

“But now I can say that, finally, I have fully mustered what is required to play in that zone and I now have to admit that I have fully matured and adapted to that role,”

“That said, I wish to step up my performance and make more contributions for City Stars in terms of assists and goals for the interest of the team.

Thus far, Makati has featured in half of the games in the current season – 17 of 34 – clocking 863 regular time minutes having earned ten starts and eight complete games.

It’s an improvement from the ten games he earned last season.

Shem Odinga during his unveiling at the Nairobi City Stars boardroom in mid February 2024.
Shem Odinga during his unveiling at the Nairobi City Stars boardroom in mid February 2024.

Shem Odinga talks up topflight debut

Defensive midfielder Shem Odinga had a taste of the Kenyan topflight on Saturday 17 February 2024 after coming on in the later stages of a matchday 22, 2023-24 FKF Premier League tie against Gor Mahia in Machakos.

Odinga made his way to the field of play in the 85th minute for Clifford Ouma for his maiden show in Kenya’s apex league.

“It’s exciting to have made my debut for Simba wa Nairobi on Saturday against Gor Mahia. I felt no pressure at all and I loved the experience, and the system of play,”

“After this first game, I am now looking forward to more minutes and games,” said Odinga

The spoiler joined Simba wa Nairobi from lower-tier side Kibera Angels during the month-long mid-transfer window that shut on 8 February 2024.

“Joining City Stars was easy for me because the system of play fits me. I did not think twice about joining the club especially after I was informed that they had scouted me and had made an inquiry about my services,”

“I had to grab it immediately, and I am am so happy to be with this amazing team, Simba wa Nairobi. I believe I will achieve a lot by the end of the season.” added Odinga

Odinga becomes the eighth City Stars player to be handed his top-flight debut this season, and the 21st by head coach Nicholas Muyoti since the 2021-22 FKF Premier League season.

Wycliffe Omondi, Gilbert Abala, Brian Mose Nyambane, and Brian Mzee made their debuts in matchday one against Muhoroni Youth, while the duo of Abuyeka Kubasu and Robinson Asenwa got their maiden games in matchday four against Gor Mahia.

Japanese forward Yuto Kusaba became the seventh debutant after his appearance in matchday 20 against Shabana in Machakos.

Shem Odinga

Shem Odinga doning Nairobi City Stars colors for the first time ever ahead of a matchday 22, 2023-24 FKF Premier League tie against Gor Mahia in Machakos on Sat 17 Feb 2024 in Machakos

Abuyeka Kubasu in Machakos after a matchday 22, 2023-24 FKF Premier League game against Gor Mahia on Saturday 17 Feb 2024
Abuyeka Kubasu in Machakos after a matchday 22, 2023-24 FKF Premier League game against Gor Mahia on Saturday 17 Feb 2024

Abuyeka Kubasu raring to go after Gor outing

For the second time in five months, midfielder Abuyeka Kubasu was on the field of play against Gor Mahia in the premier league.

Better still, in his second show, on Saturday 17 February 2024 during a matchday 22 FKF Premier League tie in Machakos, Abuyeka earned his most minutes in the topflight league after coming on early in the second half for Japanese forward Yuto Kusaba.

Back in September 2023, he earned his topflight debut – alongside former Vapor teammate Robinson Asenwa – against Gor Mahia in Kasarani during matchday three after earning 15 minutes of playtime.

“I had waited for long and I am happy to have finally returned to the field. I gave my all against and I will do the same when handed more playtime in the upcoming games,” said Kubasu

“It has not been easy for me because I had to return to the basics and improve on a few areas that I needed to upgrade and improve on during training sessions and friendly games,”

“Nothing comes easy. To get here, motivation from my coaches and teammates has been worth appreciating. I am now happy and raring to go,” he added

In between the two Gor Mahia games, Abuyeka had a cameo show against Kenya Police on matchday six at the Police Sacco Stadium and has had to wait for four-and-a-half months for what was only his third premier league game.

Abuyeka Kubasu at the Police Sacco Stadium for a matchday 6, 2023-24 FKF Premier League game against Kenya Police in Oct 2023

Abuyeka

Abuyeka Kubasu in Machakos after a matchday 22, 2023-24 FKF Premier League game against Gor Mahia on Saturday 17 Feb 2024

Brian Mzee getting set for a matchday 7, 2023-24 FKF Premier League season against Kenya Police at the Police Sacco Stadium on 25 Oct 2023
Brian Mzee getting set for a matchday 7, 2023-24 FKF Premier League season against Kenya Police at the Police Sacco Stadium on 25 Oct 2023

Brian Omondi Mzee says bye

Nairobi City Stars has officially released midfielder Brian Omondi Mzee to pursue other interests across the borders.

Mzee, who joined City Stars pre-2023-24 FKF Premier League season from second-tier side Kibera Black Stars, leaves at the midway point of his one-season deal.

“Mzee arrived and fitted in very well to our setup in the current season. Though he was firmly in the plans for the rest of the season, the club is fully aware that offers from outside are always rare, hence the nod by the club to let him leave,” said team coordinator Samson Otieno

“We thank him for his on-field returns as a midfielder, and his dedication to the team. We wish him the very best in his new endeavor.” added Samson

Brian Mzee: The Kenyan Premier League is very tactical

At his departure point, Mzee had featured in 16 out of 20 games into the season clocking 956 regular time minutes. His last game was a starting role against Shabana in Machakos on Sun 4 Feb 2024.

“From the bottom of my heart, I wish to thank this great club for making my dream of featuring in the Kenyan Premier League come true. It was always my wish, and that of any local player, to feature in Kenya’s topmost league,”

“After years of trying, and falling off after trials with other clubs, City Stars came for me from Kibera Black Stars and turned my dream into a reality,”

“When I arrived here, I was very well received by the management, the technical bench, as well as the players,”

“The technical bench handed me my debut in the first game of the season against Muhoroni Youth, and handed me my first start and full game in the second game against Bidco United,”

“For the first part of the first leg, I was a regular. I will always appreciate those chances that have now greatly contributed to my move away from the club,”

“City stars will forever remain in my heart.” added the overly appreciative Mzee

In his first full game on matchday two against Bidco United, Mzee emerged as the most valuable player.

He repeated the same fete in matchday ten following City Stars’ 3-2 win over AFC Leopards and went a step further to earn a place in the team of the week.

City Stars

Brian Mzee on his debut for Nairobi City Stars against Muhoroni Youth in the 2023-24 FKF Premier League opener on Sun 27 Aug 2023 in Kasarani Annex. It ended 0-0

City Stars, Mzee

Nairobi City Stars defensive midfielder Brian Mzee taking on Bidco United forward Ezekiel Okare during a second round 2023-24 FKF Premier League match in Kasarani Annex on Sun 3 Sep 2023. It ended 1-1

Timothy Muganda up against Benson Omala of Gor during a matchday 22 tie. Gor won it 1-0
Timothy Muganda up against Benson Omala of Gor during a matchday 22 tie. Gor won it 1-0

MD22: Nairobi City Stars 0 Gor Mahia 1

A fourth minute goal by Benson Omala is all Gor Mahia needed to stop Nairobi City Stars 1-0 in Machakos during a matchday 22, 2023-24 FKF Premier League tie played on Saturday 17 Feb 2024.

Omala got to the end of a Shariff Musa assist sending the ball past Elvis Ochoro in goal for the winner.

From the result, and coupled with others, City Stars drops from second to fifth due to goal difference while still on 37 points as Gor consolidated their place at the helm of the 18-team standings with 48 points.

Next up for Simba wa Nairobi is an away trip to Kariobangi Sharks on Sat 2 March 2024.

Lineups

Nairobi City Stars: 13. Elvis Ochoro, 30. Rowland Makati, 4. Timothy Muganda-captain 1, 15. Wycliffe Omondi, 26. Dennis Wanjala (46. Calvin Masawa-46-captain 2), 18. Clifford Ouma (6. *Shem Odinga-85), 19. Vincent Owino, 22. Samuel Kapen, 3. Robinson Asenwa (17. Brian Mose-90), 21. Yuto Kusaba (31. Abuyeka Kubasu-46), 10. Dennis Oalo (11. Andrew Kisilu-85)

*Premier league debut

Unused subs: 23. Byron Owino 24. Rogers Obusu, 27. Gilbert Abala, 32. Sosthenes Idah

Out: 1. Edwin Mukolwe, 2. Elvis Noor, 5. Newton Ochieng, 7. Pius Omachi, 9. Mohammed Bajaber, 12. Edwin Buliba, 20. Kelvin Etemesi, 25. Brian Mzee

Coach: Nicholas Muyoti

Gor Mahia: 35. Kevin Omondi, 88. Rooney Onyango, 26. Philemon Otieno-captain 1, 14. Kenedy Onyango (6. Emery Bayisenge-46), 15. Sylvester Owino, 3. Kevin Juma (8. Alpha Onyango-70) , 24. Lawrence Juma (21. Sydney Ochieng-90) , 10. Austin Odhiambo, 22. Benson Omalla, 19. Sharif Musa (7. Boniface Omondi-78), 25. Bryson Wangai (40. Chris Ochieng-78)

Unused subs: 29. Caleb Otieno, 50. Paul Ochuoga, 11. John Macharia, 27. Patrick Sibomana

Coach: Jonathan McKinstry

Goals

Nairobi City Stars: –

Gor Mahia: Benson Omala (4)

Cautions

Nairobi City Stars: 4. Timothy Muganda (15), Ronny Kagunzi – TM (52), 18. Clifford Ouma (57), 15. Wycliffe Omondi (71)

Gor Mahia: 10. Austin Odhiambo (37), 26. Philemon Otieno (55),

City Stars keeper Elvis Ochoro initiating play against Gor Mahia in Machakos on Sat 17 Feb 2024 during a 2023-24 FKF Premier League matchday 22 tie. Gor won it 1-0