Here is part two of the Kenyan Premier League full term report I did with Larky Luke OJ. Part one is here…
10. AFC Leopards
JOB: C. AFC Leopards have had a very long season, especially a period during which they lost six matches in a row. However, the signing of Rwandese Coach Cassa Mbungo, as well as short term signings of David Cheche and Paul were among others lifted the club to mid-table, and the future looks bright if the management can invest in better players, back the coach and provide visionary leadership of the great club.
So many ifs.
LARKY: – C-: same performance just a different season. The team has a good squad on paper. What ails this giant of a club? In all honesty, I don’t know. It is sad for Kenyan football that the club is a sleeping giant. Of the last 8 mashemeji derbies the team has lost 7 and drawn 1! It has been a good season for the team’s midfield maestro Whyvonne Isuza. He should be in the final squad for AFCON 2019.
11. Nzoia sugar
LARKY:–B: I think they have had a wonderful season considering the financial turmoil that they are in. The team lost Bernard Mwalala to Bandari and later Nicholas Muyoti to KK Homeboyz but still managed to get some impressive results eg 1-0 win against Gor Mahia and a 1-1 daw against Sofapaka. The main man this season has been Winger Hansel Ochieng who has scored 6 crucial goals for the including in the 1-0 win against Gor Mahia.
12. Kariobangi sharks
JOB: C. Kariobangi sharks play very attacking football, with the likes of Erick Kapaito, Sidney Lokale, Duke Abuya, Harrison Mwendwa all starting majority of games, and their games are usually goal filled. However they have tailed off badly, and their final league position is a bit worrying. I think coach Muluya is a bit tactically rigid, and playing entertaining, open football with Kapaito, Abuya, Lokale and Harrison Mwendwa meant they were always open and conceded lots of goals. They must improve next season.
LARKY: C: a drop in performance from them. Sources tell me that it mostly due to financial problems with the players sometimes going up to 4 months without being paid. The team didn’t win a KPL match in the month of April. They went for 8 games without a win, 5 losses and 3 draws (i need to confirm this), a very inconsistent side. Laughable that their two GKs are in the provisional squad. I must applaud the team for giving young lads a sporting chance. Keep an eye on their new (ex Gor Mahia Youth) striker Kevin Tom Machika. Also, they are in the final of the sportpesa shield, a chance for them to win it and play CAF football next season.
13. Western Stima
LARKY:– C: team politics really affected them in the second half of the season. I thought that they would finish in the top 8. For a team that just returned to the league this season I won’t go too hard on them. Also, people should keep an eye on one of the team’s CB Maurice Ojwang ‘Fadha’, remember the name!
14. Posta Rangers
LARKY:–C-: I hate corporate clubs, to be honest. I had hoped that this team will be relegated but I must admit that John Kamau has steadied the ship and they will most likely avoid the drop. A normal season for them. Nothing special worth mentioning.
LARKY: –C: a normal season for them despite losing a lot of players at the beginning of the season. Coach Francis Baraza has done well considering the financial difficulties the team faces. I am told they have not been paid for quite a while with some players having gone 6 months without being paid.
JOB: B. Zoo football club has survived yet another year. The Kericho based club, one of only two from rift valley region in the KPL, was always in the bottom five, but crucial wins over Kakamega Homeboyz might see them over the line. They keep on fighting and success should be recommended. It remains to be seen whether they can aim for higher targets this season.
LARKY: C-: I expected them to struggle but not to the point of fighting relegation. The loss of Kipkurui and Madoya really affected them. The pair could score nearly 20 goals a season between them. Financial difficulties meant that they were not replaced with proper quality. The results speak best. The positive thing is that they have good home support; Kericho green stadium is usually full when Zoo is playing there, the beauty of football. I pray that they don’t get relegated. I expect them to lose star midfielder damson Chetambe who has scored 7 goals for them this season.
17. Vihiga united
JOB: D. Vihiga United football club has faced a long season of financial struggle as well as difficulties on the field, as the county government of Vihiga woke up to the realization that owning a football club is not the optimal use go Kenyan and Vihiga county taxpayers’ money. I wrote about them here in depth, as I did Mount Kenya United. Interestingly, the two KPL clubs I wrote about have been relegated from the KPL… They have been hard to beat all season, drawing almost half of their fixtures, but the KPL will be better off without them as they sink to the national super league.
LARKY: C. I believe that they would have performed better if they had the finances. They have been mixed news about Vihiga County’s role in the team but no matter the role, it has failed terribly. I schooled in Vihiga County, people there love football. The team should take advantage of this. My prayer is that they don’t get relegated. The positive thing is that their captain Bernard Ochieng has been getting a regular call up to the NT.
18. Mount Kenya
JOB: F. Tragic tragic season, in football standards. Mount Kenya united have forfeited a match, launched a pay bill number for Kenyans to contribute to their welfare and struggled to play their matches. Their relegation was always happening, and it is shameful how the players have been treated by ownership and management. A hare-brained idea and a tragic ending to a season. They will not be missed.
LARKY: D-: a terrible season for them especially after the hype that came with the new management. They deserved to be relegated. Hopefully, we will learn from this that the league was not and still is not ready for 18 teams. However, I am happy that it was a stepping stone for players like Boniface Mukhekhe (ingwe)
The 2018/2019 KPL season has been one I will never forget. I watched so many matches live, and got reacquainted with the local game, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The short duration of the season meant that teams with deeper squads (Gor Mahia especially) easily triumphed, while smaller teams such as Mathare United struggled to maintain the early pace.
The dire financial situation that affects almost half of KPL teams must be resolved. I think Mediapro, FKF and KPL must increase sponsorship and financial incentives to clubs, as a bare minimum.
It has been a blast. See you in two months’ time for the KPL 2019/2020 season.