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15 teams for 2017 KPL as Thika, Muhoroni and Sofapaka axed

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FKF President Nick Mwendwa announces that Thika, Sofapaka and Muhoroni Youth will not take part in the 2017 KPL season.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – The 2017 Kenyan Premier League season will have 15 teams after Football Kenya Federation (FKF) President Nick Mwendwa released the names of clubs that met the licensing threshold as required by both FIFA and CAF.

From the 35 teams that submitted their documents before the extended December 23 deadline, Kenyan Premier League (KPL) sides Muhoroni Youth, Thika United and Sofapaka did not meet the criteria and as a result they were demoted to the National Super League (NSL).

Only three KPL clubs – Tusker FC, Ulinzi Stars and Bandari FC have complied fully while Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, Kakamega Homeboyz, Chemelil Sugar, Sony Sugar, Posta Rangers, Western Stima, Mathare United, Nakumatt FC, Nzoia United, Zoo Kericho and Kariobangi Sharks were handed the provisional license.

Speaking on Monday when releasing the names, Mwendwa said the three clubs failed to demonstrate they are financially stable to sustain their players for the whole year.

Football Kenya Federation staff following the proceedings during the press briefing on Monday, January 9, 2016.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

“Three clubs – Sofapaka, Muhoroni Youth and Thika United out of the 14 KPL clubs that submitted their documents did not meet the criteria and as a consequence they will not take part in the 2017 season. The National Executive met last week and passed the resolution and therefore the 2017 season will feature 15 teams,” the FKF boss declared.

“The three clubs did not meet the legal and financial criteria and therefore they could not be scored to take part in the Premier League season of 2017.  Automatically they are legible to obtain a license in National Super League but if they fail to comply they will further be relegated to National Division One,” Mwendwa added.

However, the three clubs have a chance to appeal the decision to the FKF Independent Disciplinary Appeals Committee.

Muhoroni Youth players and officials pose with the KPL Top 8 trophy in the dressing room. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu

Muhoroni Youth, who stunned Gor Mahia 1-0 to lift the KPL Top 8 tournament finished 10th last season, Thika completed the season 12th while Sofapaka survived relegation.

Speaking to Capital Sport, Muhoroni Youth chairman, Moses Adagala maintains the team will participate in the league this season despite the FKF decision.

“We have not received any official communication from FKF informing us of the same, we are just hearing it from the media. This matter is political because I am aware the CAF deadline is October so I am assuring you Muhoroni Youth will be in the league this season,” Adagala claimed.

“It’s very funny when FKF say we did not meet the financial criteria yet we bought a bus and the players’ salaries have been up to date. We have a sponsor in the name of Muhoroni Sugar so we are not cash strapped,” Adagala asserted.

On the other hand, Sofapaka assistant coach, Martin Ndagano said the federation should have been lenient to them after undergoing a broke season due to lack of sponsor.

“FKF should have given Sofapaka a chance because we don’t have a sponsor. It has come as a big blow since we were starting training tomorrow (Tuesday). I think they should have given us by the end of first leg.”

Sofapaka players congratulate Noah Abich for winning the SportPesa/SJAK Player of the Month Award.PHOTO/Raymond Makhaya

For the 12 clubs that were handed the provisional license, they have a period of six months to fully comply, failure to which they will not be eligible to participate in the 2018 KPL season.

“The teams handed the provisional license have until June to get the full license, so they will re-apply to sort out the pending issues, but if they don’t meet that by June they will play the whole season but in 2018 they will automatically be relegated,” Mwendwa stated.

The NSL clubs have a deadline of January 20 to submit their documents and fully comply by January 31 for them to be eligible to play in the second tier league.

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