22 January 2019

Kenya: Thika United to Get a New Name, Relocate to Meru

Meru county government wants to acquire former Premier League side Thika United and rebrand it to Meru United and relocate it to the newly refurbished Kinoru Stadium, Nation Sport has learnt.

County sports executive Daniel Kiogora said that Meru executive okayed the deal last week and negotiations were at an advanced stage.

He said they had already agreed on the amount to be paid and hoped that the deal will be struck before March so that the team can play the second leg of the league in Meru.

He also said once the deal is complete, the playing unit and technical staff will pen new deals that will see them draw a salary from the Meru county government.

Mr Kiogora said they had formed a county team comprising of players under the age of 23 years, and hoped it would serve as a feeder to the senior team (Thika United) that was relegated from SportPesa Premier League last season.

The county wants to take advantage of the historic Kinoru Stadium, that is currently undergoing a Sh900million refurbishing through a partnership with the national government, and set up a strong local team.

The 25,000-sitter stadium is set to be complete before end of February this year and will have a VIP lounge and a borehole with its water treatment plant.

"We said we will not agree to see teams from outside Meru come and play and then they leave. We will make Thika United our local team. We have done some negotiations and agreed what we are supposed to do. Very soon we will be signing the agreement," said Mr Kiogora.

Thika United is struggling in the lower league and is currently on position 14 after nine outings.

The official said the Meru government had set aside money for a talent recruitment drive in all the 45 wards. Already, the county is holding tournaments at the ward level to stir interest among the youth to embrace sports.

Meru has not had a team playing top flight football since the collapse of the defunct Mafuko Bombers in the 1990s.

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