Every season even before a ball is kicked, we as fans love to take on each other on which team we think would win the league, those that would get relegated and even those that would just do us the onus of staying.
Never ever in a million years would one think of KCB as early season strugglers, but just as our imaginations wouldn’t allow us- the facts and points as they stand present to us a team in serious decline.
Ten years since they last lifted a trophy, fifteen years since they were first promoted into top flight football- the first nine 2014 KPL Season matches has changed the course of this club for the worse.
Like any other club, these results would put the man at the helm under the spotlight.
Having led the club to their best ever finish Abdalla Juma broke another record in the shortest time ever. Leading the club to the worst ever start meant he had to be shown the door after match day 9.
For any neutral, the expression on Juma’s face after every loss painted the perfect picture of the club’s struggles, every draw brought with it some hope but more than often, the desire for a first win was evident in his eyes.
Sometimes when a club is performing poorly, you want to look for the excuses; I thought Juma was almost perfecting this art. When it wasn’t the untimed referee’s whistle, it was the lines lady or the player who got away with a foul leading to a goal.
What if he always looked at the reason why his team could bounce back in the next match even after the 90?
Take nothing away from Juma though, might have not been the best coach but knew ‘how to survive’ in this league. I bet every coach who would love to steal some hearts should try his blueprint.
In his best season (won the Coach of the year award in 2013), you realise that he never registered the most number of wins, but he knew how to space his wins.
In the 30 matches of that season, when KCB finished fourth; Juma led the bankers to eleven wins, fourteen draws and just five losses.
This earning a total of 47 points, was just 13 points less than the whole number of points Bobby Williamson (another contender for the KPL Coach of the year awards) got in his entire time at Gor Mahia in 2013.
Let it be noted though that in his time at KCB, Coach Abdalla’s longest winning streak was two; repeated four times over the KPL 2013 season.
Could this point to the reason why he always insisted in his post-match interviews, that just a ‘win’ would kick start their season?
In all honesty I bet a win in any of the last four games could have taken the pressure off him for a moment.
But that therein must be where the problem lies.
Allow me take you back to Abdalla’s 2013 season; in between the months of April and July. A total of 12 matches were played during this time. KCB registered just one win, lost three and drew eight. During this time too, KCB hobbled between position one and seven and by the time they registered their first win in August, it could only manage fourth place.
Forgive my thinking; during this spell I’m not sure if any of the top sides would have kept Abdalla for so long. Actually in my view, the managerial changes that took place all around him (Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Sofapaka) still gave him the upper hand when the final list for the Coach of the year was drafted.
Still on the KPL 2013 season, after this horrible spell, six wins did follow, but the timing of the last two leaves a lot to be desired. Two wins in the last two matches meant, it was never for the title run in; but for the position consolidation.
Today I don’t want to imagine what Abdalla would have gone through had KCB been a Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Tusker or even Sofapaka who genuinely fight for the title (all due respect to KCB). The comfort of being ‘KCB’ overshadowed the real meaning of ‘being successful in a first season.’
In a quick rejoinder though i feel KCB must have really contributed to Juma Abdalla’s recent horrible run. Forgive the transfer market, KCB sold but never replaced in readiness for a new season, thus putting Juma in a tight spot.
While this was a chance for him to build his squad and a team to justify his plaudits last season, it’s a shame it never did pick up. Another coach gone, another team left to pick up the pieces.
For all the criticism levelled against him this season; maybe not as loud compared to other coaches, did it finally show the real Juma Abdalla; the average one?
Below are two graphs representing his first and second seasons.