Shocks and surprises as new KPL season kicks off
There were shocks and surprises after round one of the 2019/2020 Kenyan Premier League season that was dominated by debutantes (new signings and coaches).
The trailer for most of the big and seasoned KPL teams seemed quite good, save for the limping giants AFC Leopards, 11-time champions Tusker and Sofapaka, who lost their respective season openers.
The league takes a two-week international break before resuming on September 14.
Record champions Gor Mahia made their intentions to retain the title known by demolishing Robert Matano’s Tusker 5-2 on Saturday in Kisumu as their perennial rivals Ingwe once again lost 1-0 to Kakamega Homeboyz the following day at Bukhungu.
The brewers’ humiliation was a repeat of their identical 2017 season opener heavy 5-2 defeat to Nzoia Sugar in Nakuru.
Big spenders Wazito were given a reality check on their return to topflight football after being frustrated to a 1-1 draw by a youthful Nzoia Sugar as new Sofapaka coach Divaldo Alves was given a rude welcome to the league after Batoto Ba Mungu fell 2-1 to Posta Rangers in Narok.
While Gor Mahia’s Steven Pollack and Herman Iswekha (Zoo) made a winning debut in KPL, returning veteran coaches, Henry Omino (Kisumu All Stars) and James Nandwa (Sony Sugar) were on the receiving end as their sides lost to Ulinzi Stars (0-2) and KCB (0-3) respectively.
Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno’s KCB bagged a convincing 3-0 win in Awendo in his absentia as Sammy Pamzo Omollo’s Rangers upset Sofapaka.
Both Otieno, who is currently in Germany for a month-long coaching refresher course, and Omollo, are back to KPL clubs on managerial roles after serving as assistant coaches at Gor and KCB last season respectively.
The golden boot race also started on a high note with the big hitters looking sharp in week one where four braces were netted.
Ulinzi Stars forward Enosh Ochieng, who shared the award last season with Allan Wanga (Kakamega Homeboyz) and former Sofapaka man Umar Kasumba after scoring 17 goals each, got off the mark with a brace in his side’s 2-0 away win over newcomers Kisumu All Stars.
Former player of the year Kenneth Muguna led from the front netting a double in Gor’s emphatic win against Tusker in which Boniface Muchiri also hit a brace for the brewers.
Kepha Andati scored twice to inspire Zoo to a 3-1 win over visiting Chemelil Sugar, while prolific Elvis Rupia (Wazito), Eliud Lokuwam (Posta Rangers), Stephen Etyang (Kakamega Homeboyz) and Patrick Otieno (Kariobangi Sharks) scored a goal each on their debuts for their respective new clubs.
The trio of Enoch Agwanda, Stephen Waruru and Dennis Odhiambo also kicked off their run with KCB with a goal each.
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