South Coast Pirates chairman George Barbour has spoken highly of the progress made by the club since its inception.
Pirates are set to host Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) for the season opener in Ukunda on Saturday and as the club prepares to mark its second stint in the Championship, Barbour has expressed his delight on the remarkable progression that has enabled Pirates to move away from the Coast Nationwide league and become mainstay in the country's second tier rugby competition.
"It's unbelievable the way the progress has been made. We've come from nothing to something in a very short time. We are coming up to the fifth season now and i'll say we're turning into a formidable side. This season we're having more than in the past.
"Every club has to start somewhere and playing in the Championship gives us a chance to highlight and show the talent that we have from Kwale county to the rest of the country. Pirates has put this place on the rugby map and now heading into the new Championship season, we're just going to take it a step further." he said
Pirates produced a mixed bag of results last season and despite not making it all the way to the final, which fellow Coast representatives Mombasa RFC, were part of before going on to achieve Kenya Cup promotion, the chairman is adamant that the steady rise witnessed can lay sufficient foundation for improvement in the new season. "We had pretty good results last year. A lot of them weren't disappointing. I think we won the games we should have won. We were not quite where we should have been but all in all, we showed progress and it's been fantastic progress over a period of time.
I'm hoping the club will win 70% of their games. That's probably what we're looking for. If they achieve that, they will be well up the ladder come end of the season." added Barbour As a mark of the current procession, the club will also contribute another team, South Coast Buccaneers to the Coast Nationwide league as it seeks to provide match fitness and game practice to its fringe players as well as those from the academy program.
Buccaneers are set to feature in the previously eight-team league but going by how events regarding the coastal league have unfolded in the past, it may be impossible for them to compete in all fixtures as there have been several instances from the past where clubs from the said league have not honouring a number of their matches throughout the season.
"The Buccaneers will be playing in the coastal league which unfortunately has experienced many cancellations in the past. It's highly unlikely they will be playing every weekend as some of the other teams probably won't come." explained Barbour But rather than sitting back and letting the team have a weekend off in the event a match involving the Buccaneers is called off, the chairman has laid out an efficient plan to ensure the players are organised for friendlies which will keep them in good shape for what lies ahead.
"What's going to happen is we'll have to arrange many friendly games against other sides playing elsewhere to keep their strength and fitness up. We intend to let the Bucanneers enjoy a full first season and where matches are cancelled, we will try to pick up games to keep them going all the time. It's a relatively strong side and they could well get into the Nationwide playoffs." he confirmed. The Buccaneers have been scheduled to play against Spartans in their opening league game on Saturday.