NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 21 – Kenyan Premier League defending champions Tusker FC are finding themselves swimming deeper into crisis after their second successive league loss, going down 2-0 to Thika United over the weekend.
The result was the fourth consecutive competitive loss for the Brewers as new head coach George ‘Best’ Nsimbe continues for the search of his maiden win since picking up the bags from Paul Nkata, the golden man of the ‘double double’ era of the 2016 season.
Tusker’s fight against Thika lacked grit and determination, leaving so much unanswered questions that even Nsimbe could not start to explain after the match. So enraged was he with the result that the otherwise calm, cool and composed Ugandan dodged the media after the match.
Nonetheless, Capital Sport caught up with him and he admitted ‘there is something wrong’ with the team.
“If it is playing we are playing well. We are not scoring but we are conceding. I don’t think the problem is with our game. It must be somewhere else and we will sit down and get to the bottom of it,” the tactician noted with anger veins all over his face.
And true, the problem might be just more than the pitch. It is understood the ‘morale of the players is low’ and they are unhappy with the management over unpaid bonuses for winning twin titles last season.
A source familiar with the on-goings at Ruaraka says the players were paid Sh60, 000 each for winning the league and GOtv Shield but they thought it was little hence no morale.
-Gor top of table-
While Tusker struggle to find the barrel that pushed them to double victory last term, their closest competitors to the throne Gor Mahia have started the season with a gush.
Building on their opening day 3-1 win over Kariobangi Sharks, K’Ogalo picked maximum points from yet another newly promoted side, beating Zoo Kericho 1-0.
The result puts Jose Marcelo Ferreira’s side squarely at the apex with a perfect record and they seemed to have learned their lesson as a disastrous start last season saw them lose considerable ground in the fight for the title.
Arch rivals AFC Leopards have also started the season positively, winning an opening match for the first time in eight seasons after a 3-0 spanking of Nakumatt FC.
Head coach Stewart Hall believes it is some form of good omen for them as they seek a league title for the first time since 1998. The Briton believes he has put together a fine squad with a good balance between youth and experience.
For Nakumatt, it was a tale of the Premier League being a tough nut to crack as they went on for the second consecutive match without winning nor scoring a goal. Their coach Giovanni Troiani is however upbeat they will soon find their footing.
“My team has been playing well and I know the results will start coming soon. We are new to the Premier League and it is not easy. The two games we have played I think I am happy with what the players have given. We only have to start winning and next game I believe we will do that,” the Italian who has been with the team for the last three seasons noted.
Of all the promoted teams, Nzoia United is the only side that has started positively with the Bungoma based club having picked a goalless home draw against Mathare United. Kariobangi Sharks, Nakumatt and Zoo Kericho have all lost their opening two matches.
However, Sharks is the only side to have scored a goal of the three.
Elsewhere, Muhoroni Youth and Sofapaka had contrasting results on their first matches of the season after being reinstated to the league by the Sports Disputes Tribunal.
A relatively new Muhoroni side picked up a 1-0 win over Sharks at home while Sofapaka found themselves on the receiving end of a similar scoreline in Nakuru against Sony Sugar.
KPL Weekend results
Saturday: Posta Rangers 0 Bandari FC 0 (Thika Sub-County Stadium), Gor Mahia 1 Zoo Kericho 0 (Moi Stadium, Kisumu), Nzoia United 0 Mathare United 0 (Sudi Stadium, Bungoma), Chemelil Sugar 1 Kakamega Homeboyz 1 (Chemelil Complex 3 p.m.).
Sunday: Muhoroni Youth 1 Kariobangi Sharks 0 (Muhoroni Stadium), Sofapaka 0 Sony Sugar 1 (Afraha Stadium), Thika United 2 Tusker FC 0, Nakumatt FC 0 AFC Leopards 3 (Thika Sub-County Stadium).