The 2015 Kenya Premier League kicked off after all amid a barrage of controversies obscuring the local football scene.
There were fears that the league will not begin after KPL’s estranged lover, Football Kenya Federation (FKF), reportedly acquired a court order barring the league from kicking off. Nevertheless, KPL, perhaps under the advice of some decent lawyer defied the order and managed to organize 8 games which were played full time without a hitch.
Four games were played on Saturday with three others on Sunday in what was a full toss bar one game which didn’t take place (apparent promoted clubs, Shabana FC and Posta Rangers have opted for the rival FKF PremierLeague).
With 19 goals scored (one short of 20 scored in the opening matchday last season and with a game less), there was plenty to talk about on the pitch, a welcome relief from the embarrassing warfare we’ve been subjected to since end of last season.
Gor Mahia 4 2 Mathare United
Two-time defending champions, Gor Mahia, inflicted Mathare United their fourth defeat in the Slum Boys’ last 7 opening day fixtures with a 4-2 victory. The result wasn’t as comfortable as the score suggested but Kogalo will care less having bagged three points which got their season off to a flyer. It was game of braces as new signings Ali Abondo and Michael Olunga both scored twice for Gor while the Slum Boys also had Noah Abich on the double. Last season, Ugandan duo Danny Sserunkuma and Geoffrey ‘Baba’ Kizito scored as Kogalo beat Nairobi City Stars 2-0 in the season opener. Gor Mahia’s last 7 in the opening day (W4 D1 L2) while Mathare United (W0 D3 L4).
Chemelil 0 0 AFC Leopards
In the only match that had no goals, AFC Leopards and Chemelil continued with their knack for delivering draws in this tie. This was a repeat of the 2012 season opener which also ended barren. Leopards have always found it difficult to break down the Sugar Millers who have a 5-1 win record over Zdravko Logarusic side. The duo have now drawn 7 of their last 13 meetings (4 ended 0-0 with three 1-1). AFC drew 1-1 with KCB in their first game of last season and they have now won only once in the opening day of the season since their promotion in 2009 (D 3, L3). Chemelil (W3 D3 L1)
Bandari 3-1 Muhoroni Youth
Bandari outclassed Muhoroni Youth in Mombasa as two second half goals from David King’atua and Juma Masoud secured them a 3-1 win. The Dockers had taken the lead at the quarter-hour mark through Andrew Waiswa only for the visitors to find the equalizer via Jeremiah Wanjala just before the half time breather. The win put Bandari on top of the log alongside Gor Mahia. Last season, Bandari won their opening match 2-0 against Ushuru while Muhoroni were thumped 5-1 by Sofapaka. Muhoroni have failed to win any of their season openers since their promotion in 2012 (L3, D1), while Bandari have won their last three.
Thika United 1 1 Tusker United
For the second season in succession, Tusker found themselves having to play away at Thika United in the season opener. The game felt like a rendition of the happenings of last season. In that meeting, Thika took the lead through a Dennis Odhiambo penalty only for Brian Osumba to equalize. This past weekend, Thika again took the lead through Wycliffe Opondo but there was again a penalty, this time for Tusker who equalized through Ismail Dunga, both matches ending 1-1. Before the twin 1-1 draw against Thika, Tusker had won all but one of their previous five season opening games. Thika’s last 7 (L2, W2, D3).
Sofapaka 2 1 Ushuru
Sopaka always have a strong start. Last season, they put five past Muhoroni in the first game of the season. However, they were restricted to only two goals by Ushuru this time with the taxmen taking the lead through Moses Arita, only for veteran forward John Barasa to equalize and Collins Shivachi to net the winner. Sofapaka’s record in their past 7 opening matchday games reads (W5, D2, L0) while Ushuru have lost two in two.
Ulinzi 0 2 Sony Sugar
Sony Sugar collected their first win at Afraha beating hosts Ulinzi Stars 2-0. Marwa Chamberi and Samuel Onyango had Sony celebrating a famous victory against the Soldiers who entertain anything but defeat in their own backyard. The rule of this tie has always been victory for the hosts but Sony avenged the defeat they suffered in Awendo in November last year. Sony’s last seven season openers (W3 L1 D2), Ulinzi (W3 L2 D2)
KCB 0 2 Western Stima
Western Stima made it 7 wins out of their last 9 meetings against KCB as an own goal from Duncan Wafula and a second half strike from Etone Esiye gave them a 2-0 win. The Bankers who have now won only one match in their last seven matches looked rusty from the off and were duly punished by Stima. Having lost their opening league game only twice in the last 7 (W4 D1), KCB were poor against deserved winners Stima who won only their third opening game of the season, twice against KCB with the other four ending in two draws and two defeats for the Stima men.
And That’s thesteifmastertake!!