Sofapaka chairman Elly Kalekwa aka Le Presidenthas issued a warning to all and sundry that this season, unlike last year, his team will menacingly pack a punch.

Sofapaka escaped relegation by a whisker on the very last day of a season full of struggles, but Kalekwa termed their travails in 2016 as “a normal occurrence in football” that was just a blip in the 2009 champions’ history.

“Even the best teams in the world never stay on top all the time. Look at Arsenal. They once won the league unbeaten, but nowadays they are just an average team. It happens.

“I agree that last season we had struggles of our own. We had acute financial difficulties but we managed to pull through. We even finished in a good position!

“What happened is that our sponsor encountered financial difficulty, and asked us to allow him to halt his support to the team for a while as he sort out the problem. I remained as the only financier for the team, but I got engaged with my own business ventures away from this country. This affected the team’s operations.

“But now I am back here fully. There are people, big people out there, who know where this team has come from and its potential. They have already approached me offering one kind of sponsorship or the other.

“I shall be making a big announcement soon, but in the meantime, I would like everyone to know that we are not going to be the punching bags again this season,” he said.

Batoto ba Mungu literally operated on life support in 2016 recording their worst performance in top flight since their promotions in 2009 amidst a player exodus over unpaid salaries.

They wallowed at the basement of the league table throughout the season only climbing to safety – barely – on the final day thanks to their unlikely and dramatic 5-1 victory over Thika United at Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos.

The former champs started this season with a 1-0 loss to Sony Sugar in Nakuru, but emphatically bounced back by thumping Western Stima 3-1 in Kisumu last weekend to post notice: tThis Sofapaka is not the one of last year.

The team is coached by Ugandan Sam Ssimbwa, who is at the club on a second stint, and old boy John Baraza.