Nondescripts, one of Kenya’s oldest clubs, are ahead of time by a year, if sentiments from club chair Auka Gecheo are anything to go by.
According to Gecheo, the team has been running away from the Kenya Cup relegation red zone in recent years to the green zone from next year.
But here they find themselves firmly in the driving seat for a playoff berth at the close of the current season they were using to reshape and step up their act for next season.
Nine rounds down the line, Nondies as they are fondly referred to, sits third with 28 points, three off third placed Kenya Harlequin, after picking six wins.
A 20-14 win over bogey team Homeboyz in mid-November 2018 kicked off Nondies season and in round two, their intent and purposes were duly noted after shaming champions KCB 27-20 off Thika road in the process ending their 20-month unbeaten run. Lately Nondies licked hosts Nakuru for their sixth win to add on to others over Impala, Menengai Oilers and Mean Machine.
“It's belief. These guys have been together for long save for about three we added this year who have been very critical to the setup,” he said in an exclusive interview with RagaHouse
“The team has come together, they are bonding and finally the results are showing. It's really a lot of team effort. The head coach Foxx (Willis Ojal) and his team have really done some good work, they have raised the team's belief,”
“Two, three seasons ago we were struggling with relegation and we said, guys, we need to put that behind us. And we came up with a plan that in four, five years’ time we will start contending for playoffs. That plan really was from next season. While it’s still early to say we are contending for the playoffs this season, I think what we are doing now is still building blocks of the team. There's no pressure on them on what to deliver but its work that is aimed toward something in the next few years,”
“But whatever comes we will take in stride. We are very aware we will encounter situations that we have not encountered before. Being where we are the spotlight is on us. Everyone is preparing for a Nondies game. No one is joking when they approach Nondies anymore,”
Working on mental strength, as well as making the right calls in a game, is part of the areas Gecheo would like to see his club fine tune to become a dominant force.
“When you look at a team like KCB and Kabras, because they have had a winning culture and being at the top, they have always had a winning mentality and even on their bad day they still get a victory. Maybe those are things that our players now need to learn to get into that mental frame of a game like how to approach a playoff, a sudden death game, a do-or-die game, and that’s why am talking about us building blocks,”
“In the game against Mwamba that we lost 12-13 we were cocky and complacent and this is not to say Mwamba are not a good side. In the last five minutes we played under the sticks in Mwamba’s five yard. Even after the referee said the game is over we still tried to get a try for what reason I don’t know and we had the option of taking a drop goal because the game was 12-13. A win is a win, why we wanted to score a try that would not have been a bonus try we will never understand. Those are some of the things I am talking about that we need to rectify as we go forward,”
“We will learn all those things, it will take a while but for now we will continue building, working hard , team effort and continue getting better and better. We want to learn from our mistakes, take our victories with humility and see what we get right and continue doing it. But in every game we want to be better than the previous one.” He said in his parting shot
The Red Lions can consolidate their place in the playoff zone with two February games against a limping Strathmore Leos and Blak Blad in the next two weekends.