Thika United will have to contend with the absence of another key player when the Kenya Premier League season kicks off in slightly over a fortnight after forward Kepha Aswani left the country to pursue greener pastures in the Middle East.
Aswani, who was the club's leading scorer with 11 goals as Thika finished fifth last season, has been invited to join Oman side, Al Nasr. He becomes the third Kenyan in the last two weeks to be sought after by the top Omani Club after AFC Leopards duo of Allan Wanga and Burundian Floribert Ndayisaba.
"I have been offered a six month contract by Al Nasr. They told me they have been watching me for a while and all I need to do is to look at the personal terms. If they are okay, they will negotiate with my club for the transfer to be completed," said Aswani.
Aswani's departure should the deal materialise will have a significant blow to Thika's aspiration of improving on their performance last season. His exit comes a week after another key player in the team, Clifton Miheso left for South Africa for trials with top PSL side, SuperSport United.
With only one more day remaining before the transfer window is closed and teams to submit names of the players they will use for the first leg to the 2013 KPL season, Thika have been left with little room to get a player capable of filling the boots of the man who has led the club's scoring charts for the last two seasons.
Thika coach John Kamau signed former Gor Mahia and KCB hitman Ezekiel Odera but with Moses Arita also having left for Tusker, It will be a tough task for Odera to provide the goals necessary to keep Thika competitive. Odera has scored only three league goals in the last two season.
Elsewhere, a tussle between Coast based Nationwide side, Admiral and Posta Rangers has ensued over the signing of their custodian Ian Aubrey.
The player was initially scheduled to join Tusker but the brewers tossed him to Posta Rangers without consulting the coast side. Admiral is now threatening to take legal action against Rangers after establishing that they are in the process of signing the player.
Admiral's technical director, Aref Baghazal, said although they have no intention of blocking any player from ascending to stardom, they are no two ways when it comes to the laid down procedures.
"We are daring Posta Rangers to sign Aubrey without consulting us. We are not blocking our players from seeking greener pastures but all we want is to play by the rules," said Baghazal.
An emotional Baghazal said he talked to Tusker who took in the goalkeeper and even included him in the Tanzania tour. "We were later shocked to learn that the player is now headed to Rangers without their consent."
He said it is unfair for any team to raid them and grab a player without consultations. "There is no way the keeper will join any other club apart from Tusker who negotiated to have him. There are procedures to be followed before the player makes such a move," he said.
Baghazal claimed Tusker are fully involved in as far as off-loading the player to Rangers is concerned. Efforts to get a comment from Tusker was fruitless.