William Muluya: The old head on young shoulders in Kenya's top league

Marco Silva 38, Eddie Howe 38 and Julian Nangelsmann 29 rank among a generation of young coaches who are proof that more than experience is needed to succeed in coaching circles.

Kenya too has her very own versions of such success stories. From countless grassroot coaches braving the harsh conditions with no or very less pay and only passion and determination to see that talent in never wasted. 

William Muluya, a former Mathare Team manager and U20 coach and now a trainer at Kariobangi Sharks serves as a great example to the description above. When he was handed the reins at NSL side Kariobangi Sharks, the team's  fortunes were slowly turning for the worse as prospects for yet another failed promotion looked imminent.

From NSL to KPL

Agrochemicals, Nzoia Sugar, Nakumatt, and Zoo FC then stood among the early promotion favourites. By the going of things, plucking a mere novice from Mathare technical bench to replace Michael Amenga could hardly been an informed choice to many a sports pundit. If anything, Kanu, as he is fondly referred to had a tough start of four games without a win.

Things will later turn around and in no time Sharks were getting their bite back. Ten games in, the team was not only getting result but also had adopted an identity and style of play. Sharks' subsequent run of 21 league games affirmed that it was more than just a remote promise of a good start. but a change across the team. and at end of season promotion had been secured with the second place finish. With all these attained amidst the distraction of the GoTV Shield tie, it was no mean achievement,still the coach deflected the praise to his players

Another facet of the coach's reputation and maturity came to the fore after Sharks promotion to the KPL. Despite a 3-0 handing him a top flight debut to forget from Gor, Kanu showed off his wisdom despite his keeper's blunder in his role in goal.  With the journalists eager to 'force a quote'. 

Talk and Act

"I wont victimize my player," the coach's remarked. The words seemed to have worked magic despite Sharks moving on without points but with something much mire significant; as a united front! The coach later backed his words with  what has since proved as Sharks masterstroke for the season. Joff Oyemba soon assumed the goalkeeping duties as Sharks and Kanu proved that their win over fierce rivals Nzoia Sugar in the NSL was no fluke with a 2-0 win at Sudi.

Sharks earned their first points in top flight football and the cruise was on. More than once, the coach has demonstrated his ability to read the game and sent on impact substitutes to win a game in what further attest to the trainer's ability. Granted the success at the club has not been a one man thing. The invaluable support of former Tusker keeper trainer, Sunil Shah, and other behind the scenes has been pivotal. And for a club that enjoys the trappings of power, much works has gone in the team even as the tactician acumen of master of his game has so far stood out.

Indeed, in Kanu, Sharks got a gem that continues to light their  tough sail in top flight football and remains an inspiration to the many youthful coaches across Kenya, trying to make a name, a team, and a reputation in Kenya.

x