Recently, Shabana Football Club has been the talk across the country after their dramatic comeback to the FKF Premier League. They staged a serious campaign in the National Super League to win the title that was a closely contested race between them and the Murang`a Seals. Their big fanbase across the Kisii counties and Kenya at large has been praised as they have somehow changed the perception of Kenyans about supporting the local football. However, very few know the origin and history of Shabana FC.
History of Shabana FC
Dogo Khan, a Kisii-based businessman, founded Shabana Fc or Tore Bobe in 1982 in order to give talented youth in the area the opportunity to further develop their skills and earn from their talent, and the club was promoted from the District, Provincial, and finally to the Super League in its third year of existence.
Khan named the team after his company, Shabana Hardware and General Stores Limited, a well-known corporation in the region at the time, and financed it entirely with profits from the company. While he liked the team, he couldn’t keep it going when it began eating into his profits to the point of pulling the firm down, forcing him to make the difficult decision to let it go.
“Travelling and salaries were costing us about Ksh5 million in one year. That is for you to run the team comfortably, allowances paid and everything,” Dogo Khan said while speaking to Pulse Sports in a past interview.
“We did not have any sponsorship, everything was being funded by the shop which actually led to the collapse of the business. After the collapse of the shop, I could not take care of the team anymore, so I decided to give it to the community.
“I said I cannot disband the team because where would those youngsters go? I wanted continuity. I called area leaders to the stadium and told them what we were going through before I handed the team to them.”
Since then, Shabana has transitioned from a private business to a members’ side, and the Kisii community has taken the team to heart, supporting it even more than before the handover.
However, Dogo Khan’s decision to release Shabana added to the team’s issues over the years, as subsequent leadership squabbles were largely to blame for their 17-year spell in the lower leagues before returning to the top flight in the recently finished season.
Even now that the squad has returned, there is still confusion about who is the true club patron, with former FKF President Sam Nyamweya saying that he is the one in charge, while Kisii Governor Simba Arati was just appointed in the post.