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Thika United Get New Coach After Worst PL Start Since Joining Top Flight Football.

Struggling Thika United FC have officially appointed former Harambee Stars and experienced tactician James Nyende Nandwa as the new head coach taking over from Moses Irungu who has since been relieved his duties effective Wednesday 17th March, 2016.

Nandwa will come in to find a scattered Thika side that has only picked two points from the opening five games of the season. He brings with him a lot of wealth in terms of experience to the youthful outfit at Thika United, who are currently 2nd from last in the Sportpesa League Table, its worst of starts in the Kenyan Premier League season.

With a rich CV that has seen him achieve some degree at club level and national team where he reached the 2012 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup final in Uganda, Nandwa has his work cut out. He joins Thika United from Jericho All Stars having also coached Tanzanian top league side Coastal Union of Tanga, Shabana Football Club, Karuturi Sports and Kitengela Shooters among other soccer clubs.

During his time at AFC Leopards, he helped Ingwe clinch the 2013 GOtv Shield and led them to the second round of the 2014 CAF Confederations Cup losing 4 – 2 aggregate to South African side SuperSport United.

His first match in charge will be a home tie against Posta Rangers and he will be looking to start on a positive note with a return to winning ways.

Confirming the appointment, club chairman Elloi Lolli said that they were getting concerned.

“Yes we have appointed (James) Nandwa to take over as coach. We were getting concerned about the poor run of performances and we have decided to make the changes before it gets out of hand. He has a two year contract and we hope things can get better with him coming on board,” said Lolli.

On his part, Nandwa believes that he is equal to the task and it will be just a matter of time before he gets the side ticking again.

“It is a huge challenge because if you look at the table, they are not in a good position. I have watched a few of their matches this season and they are not a bad team. We only need to work on a few areas, strengthen and see how things go in the coming matches,” Nandwa said.

“I have come at a very good time when there is a two week break in the league. This will give me a very good opportunity to look at the team further, try and make right a few things then look at how well we have done in probably one or two friendly matches. I’m confident that Thika will be up again,” he added.

Since reaching the KPL Top 8 final in 2013, Thika has been a pale shadow of its former self. They remain winless so far this season having drawn twice and losing three times.

The departure of John Kamau in 2015 to join Posta Rangers perhaps spelt their fall of their fast rising star. Tim Bryett took over but he could not manage to revive Thika back to the top to throw in the towel in August. Irungu, who worked as an assistant from the reign of Kamau through to Bryett was trusted with the top job on interim basis main at the start of this new season.  

Despite helping the team perform better in the second half of the 2015 season, he had a tough start to the season managing two draws and losing thrice at home.

Other than Irungu, the club's former player Haji Yussuf has also reportedly been relieved off his duties as the assistant coach.

James Nandwa is not new to Thika. He joined Thika-Based premier league side KTM FC in 1983 where played with the likes of Paul Yongo, Nahashon Mahila, Antony Ochieng, Shaldon Olimba, Reuben Aliko, Richard Shedu, Martin Ochieng ‘Oswayo’, Hussein Kheri, the late Bernard Zico among others. Here he featured for 10 straight years.

He was among the few players who graced the National colours and did not play for either Gor Mahia or AFC Leopards. Here he was in the company of, Erick Masiga, Muhamud Abbas who he was fond of scoring against every time they visited Thika, Ambrose Ayoyi ‘golden boy’, Wilberforce Mulamba, Dick Anyanga, Sammy Tabu, Otieno Basanga ‘Nabiso’, Josephat Murilla ‘Controller’, Bob Ogola ‘Six Million Dollar man’ and Jared Ingutia.

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