Why Kerr is a worried man: New season kicks off on December 8

By Gilbert Wandera: Wednesday, October 17th 2018 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Football
Coach Dylan Kerr of Gor Mahia FC train ahead of fifth Group D match of the CAF Confederations Cup at Kasarani Stadium. Aug 18, 2018. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

KPL implements new league format as K'Ogalo tactician says his players are not ready for the new season.

The new Kenyan Premier League (KPL) season kicks off on December 8 but Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr is not a happy man.

Reason? Gor Mahia players have not had time to rest after a tough season and the coach believes the early kick off is likely to affect his side.

Gor Mahia open their title campaign on the first day of the new season away to last season’s runner-up Bandari.

A week earlier, Gor Mahia would have played the winner of this weekend’s Gotv shield in the Super Cup, which is the season opener.

“Last year we gave our players a six-week break after which we went for pre-season which was fantastic. We will not be able to do the same this time round and it will affect us a lot,” he complained.

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With Gor Mahia assured of another busy season, as they will represent the country in next year’s CAF Champions League, the coach said his players will not be physically and emotional ready.

“As it is, we are not going to rest even before the new season starts. The team is currently preparing to travel to Everton for an international friendly match and there after, we will be back on the continental scene.”

Kerr said KPL should have waited until 2020 to switch the calendar because that is the deadline for all league’s to be aligned with UEFA's guidelines.

“There was no need to rush the process considering the deadline for complying is 2020. Other than four or five teams, there are no strong teams in the KPL and this sudden change is not very good at this point,” he said.

Mathare United coach Francis Kimanzi, however, sees no problem with the switch and says his club is ready to cope.

“It is a requirement and we therefore have no choice but to comply. Granted, planning for the pre-season will be short but nonetheless we will still manage considering the period between the new and old season is very short,” said Kimanzi.

Four matches will kick off the new season on December 8. Apart from the top of the table clash between Gor Mahia and Bandari, AFC Leopards will also play Kariobangi Sharks on the same day at Machakos Stadium.

Mathare United tackle Chemelil Sugar at Moi Stadium in Kisumu. KCB who have just been promoted travel to Bukhungu Stadium to take on Kakamega Homeboyz.

The winner of the playoffs between Ushuru and Nakumatt will tackle Sofapaka in an early kick-off clash that will be staged at Ruaraka Stadium on the first day of the season.