The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Players' Exodus Threatens the Survival of Rangers Through Second Leg

Kenya Premier League side, Rangers face uncertain times over the composition of their squad as they resumed preparations for the second leg of the season. The club, which face potential debilitating exits of some of their key players, started conducting recruitment for other players last Friday, according to technical director James Nandwa with the first team players returning in bits from Monday this week.

"We have just started our pre-season training and we expect the turnout to be slow. I am sure by tomorrow, we will know the exact condition of our squad going into the second leg," he noted

The cash-strapped club was widely reported as being on the verge of losing close to eight first team players due to what some of the players have termed as breach of their contract agreement in terms of pay delays. Injured skipper Pascal Ochieng is one of the high-profile members of the team who have declared their intentions of exiting the relegation threatened. However, Nandwa pointed out that the club is yet to reach any agreement with any player as far as transfers are concerned. "As a club, we have not received any request or a release letter from any player so far," stated the former Karuturi Sports and Tusker coach. " We have heard that some players are training with other teams while others have cited lack of bus fare as their reason for not coming to train, but no one has formally requested to leave the club," the coach said.

Indeed, bleak future lies ahead for a club promoted into the top flight league three season ago and finished a remarkable ninth last year. Currently, Rangers are second from bottom albeit only a single point from safety. Should Rangers fail to hold onto their star players, then a long and hard fight to avoid the chop beckon for them although Nandwa is optimistic they will survive no matter the circumstances. "As technical bench, we are working hard to ensure we are ready when the second leg starts and no matter the situation, I believe we will give a good account of ourselves and stay in the Premier League," he said. Rangers open their second leg account with a home match against Chemelil Sugar on the June 25.

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