NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 4 – If there were any doubters that Gor Mahia are strong challengers for title number 19, then their opening day 5-2 thrashing of 11-time champions Tusker FC in Kisumu served as a warning statement that Wuon Timbe are not about to drop their crown.
Despite losing three very vital players in skipper Harun Shakava, midfielder Francis Kahata and striker Jacques Tuyisenge, all who were integral in their campaign last season, K’Ogalo showed they were still at their very best.
And the players they brought on board have quickly integrated into the team and not even an ounce of lack of cohesiveness was visible.
Their midfield acquisition, Tobias Otieno, showed he is class and Gor didn’t drain their energies to sap him off the cane farms of Awendo for nothing as he has time and again proved in all four competitive matches he has started, that he is a defensive midfielder worth everyone’s time.
Otieno’s combativeness at the heart of midfield has given both Lawrence Juma and Kenneth Muguna, scorer of two goals against Tusker, freedom to move upfront and this is the sole reason Gor destroyed Tusker.
-Zico makes emphatic start with KCB
Gor’s former assistant coach Zedekiah Otieno meanwhile made a resounding return as a head coach when he guided KCB to a 3-0 victory over one of his former employers Sony Sugar in Awendo.
New boys Stephen Waruru, Dennis Odhiambo and Enock Agwanda, Sony’s captain last season, found the back of the net in the convincing victory.
While it was against a Sony side rebuilding after losing their entire first team at the close of the season, the three points will be a massive morale booster for the bankers who are looking to break into the top five at the end of the campaign.
While it was jubilation for Zico, James Nandwa, the new Sony tactician has a lot to ponder on to ensure they replicate the same performance they had last season where they finished fifth.
-AFC, Sofapaka struggle on day one
The last time AFC Leopards won the Kenyan Premier League title, neither Twitter, Facebook or Instagram was existent, Meaning, no Ingwe fan has ever uploaded a photo on social media of their team lifting the league title.
It is widely expected that AFC will challenge for the league title especially after they dived deep into the transfer market bringing on board quality players from within and without.
But, Leopards had a torrid start to the campaign, losing 1-0 to Kakamega Homeboyz in their opener in Kakamega with their fans left seething with a display they didn’t like and head coach Cassa Mbungo sealing himself further in a hot pressure cooker.
The deadline day acquisition of John Mark Makwatta, Paul Were and Washington Munene looks to spur Leopards, but judging by history, Mbungo has a short while to impress the Ingwe faithful.
It was similar case miles down in Narok with Sofapaka and their new boss Divaldo Alves suffering a 2-1 loss to Posta Rangers, a side that merely survived relegation last season.
Batoto ba Mungu have also hugely changed their squad with up to six debutants named in their starting team against the mailmen.
The side however will have plenty of positives to build on having lost the tie with a myriad of scoring chances missed, something that massively broke the Portuguese coach’s heart watching his side fire blanks.
“I have never seen a match in my entire career with so many opportunities to score like this. That is the positive that we can pick from the game. If we can work on the chances we missed, then I believe we can be better,” Alves said after the game.
-Star studded Wazito yet to hit high gears
Spendthrifts Wazito began their Premier League return with a scrappy 1-1 drw at home against Nzoia Sugar, new signing Elvis Rupia stepping off the bench to score a late second half penalty to salvage a point.
Wazito paraded most of their high end acquisitions, but the chemistry was far from near and the reality that it doesn’t take a single harvest to replenish a barn slowly dawning on them.
Probably, these were just gremlins of the opening weekend but the next five games will sure show what weight Wazito have on them, with an ambitious project of winning the league.