Shabana’s home form at the Gusii stadium was the key to their success in the league.
The atmosphere was intimidating for visiting players. Their fan base was amongst the most passionate in the country and very demanding even to the point of threatening Shabana players with violence if they lost and threatening visiting players with the same if they won.
Unfortunately, the club could not hold onto their best players. Simiyu had left of AFC. While Motego and Okoth joined Tusker in 1988.
Shabana had one more crack at continental football in the 2000 when they played Hay al Arab of Sudan in the CAF cup. Once again they lost in the 1st round, going down 0-2 on aggregate.
The club’s fortunes started to nosedive in 2006 when they were relegated from the top flight after 21 years. They refused to play in the lower divisions and the club was disbanded. In 2008, the club was revived and started its path back to relevance.
The Kenya premier league could benefit immensely from a team like Shabana which already has a built in and committed fan base. Aside from Gor Mahia and AFC, Shabana is probably the only team that could regularly draw crowds.
One of the issues holding Shabana back has been vested interests and agendas by various individuals. For Shabana to return to the top flight, it will take plenty of good governance, hard work, commitment and selflessness from the fans, players and officials.
Shabana should take heart from the fact that both Gor Mahia and AFC looked dead and buried as recently as 2006 when the latter was in the lower divisions while the former was constantly battling relegation.
In 2022, the club’s chairman Nyandoro Kambi passed away. He was a dedicated and passionate supporter of the club, and his loss was a great blow to the Shabana community.
Despite its recent struggles, Shabana FC remains a popular and well-supported club with a rich history. The club has the potential to return to the top flight, and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Shabana.
Shabana FC won the National Super League (NSL) on July 8, 2023, and were promoted back to the FKF Premier League for the first time since 2006.
They finished the season with 73 points, 4 points ahead of second-placed Murang’a SealFC.