Howard Okwemba right in past action. Photo Courtesy/SC Pirates.

South Coast Pirates coach Howard Okwemba reviews first season in Ukunda


South Coast Pirates appointed Howard Okwemba as Head Coach in November 2019 and after 12 matches in charge, the side managed the best ever finish (seventh) in the KRU Championship.

The coach picked five wins during the five months he was with the Ukunda based side. At the end of the regular season, they had 31 points, two more than what they achieved in 2017/2018 season where they finished eight.

It was a huge improvement from the 2018/19 season where they finished the season at position 10, with seven points separating them and Kitale who got relegated that season.

Challenging

Okwemba who led Kisumu RFC back to the Kenya Cup in the 2018/19 season admits that his first season in Ukunda was a challenge as he had to know the players well before implementing some of the plans he had for the side.

He is, however, impressed that team put up spirited fights whenever playing in their backyard. Pirates picked six wins at home and its only Strathmore and Northern Suburbs who were able to avoid in defeats in Ukunda.

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“Well, it was quite challenging because first of all, I had to learn the players and their strength. After that, we had to come up with a game plan that suits their fitness and understanding of the game. But the players were exceptional while playing at home. They were very committed and they were on a different level while playing at home,” Okwemba told Scrummage.

Minimal changes 

Having taken up a side which had already played four matches of the 2019/20 season, the coach says he made minimal changes to the side. He opted to build on what his predecessor Kevin Amiani had put in place.

“In most cases, I used what there, Kevin Amiani was in charge of the team before I came in and he had laid some foundation. So, I just used what he had set up and made a few additions. He had dealt with the basics and we worked with him to steer the side forward” he added.

Pirates missed the playoffs by just a point.

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