Kenyan Premier League clubs have until Tuesday midnight to finalise paperwork for their new recruits before the pre-season transfer window closes.
Clubs have had two months to sign up players as they seek to strengthen their squads ahead of the 2017 season which starts February 11. However, it appears the days of big-money transfers are now over, at least for this season.
Most Kenyan Premier League clubs have already concluded their transfer business, yet no record-breaking deal has been reported even with hours left to the midnight deadline.
According to KPL League and Competitions Administrator Michael Kirwa, the highest amount paid for the acquisition of a player in the current transfer window so far is a measly Sh150,000.
This was the sign-on fee given to midfielder Sidney Ochieng who has joined Tusker from National Super League side Palos, and Kirwa told Daily Nation Sport that 90 per cent of all other transfer deals during the two-month period have been free.
“It appears that clubs do not have much money to spend on transfers because most of the confirmed signings that have been registered with us did not involve any money,” he said.
This represents a steady decline in money thrown around by clubs to acquire players.
Defending champions Gor Mahia, former domestic cup holder AFC Leopards and Sofapaka who were known for big spending on players have changed tact.
They now seem to have joined the clique of clubs who opt for youthful and inexperienced players as opposed to splashing cash on already established players.
Of the 14 players who were unveiled by K’Ogalo on Friday evening, eight were recruited from the lower-tier league for cheap, the only headline signing being Rwandan captain Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza whose contract at Azam had already run out.
The story is the same for AFC Leopards who have in the past signed up established players. This season, Leopards have signed up Duncan Otieno (Posta Rangers), Robinson Kamura (Mathare United), Whyvonne Isuza (Mathare United) and Michael Wanyika (Kakamega Homeboyz).
Sofapaka, who thrived on buying, nurturing and later selling quality foreign-based players expensively, are facing financial problems.
Even reigning champions Tusker and GOtv Shield champions Ulinzi Stars, who will be taking on foreign opposition starting February 10 when the CAF Champions League and Caf Confederation Cup, have shied away from lavish spending.
In spite of the uncertainty surrounding the league kick off dates, the KPL management has announced that there will be no deadline extension.
Clubs have been advised to file their documents with the league body and Football Kenya Federation International Transfer Matching Systems master before midnight.