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LOW-KEY START TO KPL SEASON: But new boys Kakamega Homeboyz, Posta Rangers win

FOOTBALL By ROBIN TOSKIN | February 16th 2016
AFC Leopards' Andrew Tololwa is congratulated by his coalegues after scoring a penalty kick during their Sportpesa Premier League match with Mathare United FC at Nyayo National Stadium on Sunday, Feb 14, 2016. PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD.

The Kenyan Premier League's low-key start was not without surprises as returning Kakamega Homeboyz and Posta Rangers helped themselves to morale-boosting victories.

With SportPesa, the league’s naming-rights holders, forking out Sh80 million for this season, the good news was tempered by Gor Mahia and Bandari losses on continental duty.

Madagascan champions CNaPS slapped Gor Mahia 2-1 at Nyayo Stadium in the first leg of the  CAF Champions League preliminary round.

St Eloi Lupopo of the Democratic Republic of Congo ran away with a saintly 2-0 victory to take pole position in the Confederation Cup.

After energy-sapping FKF Presidential elections won by Nick Mwendwa on Wednesday, attention slowly turned to the local premier league front, with  fans not knowing what to make of the new season and what it holds for them.

Kakamega Homeboyz beat Western Stima 2-1, thanks to Ali Bai and Sunday Mutuku strikes while Timothy Otieno’s brace put paid to Muhoroni Youth’s dreams of continuing with their fine form from last season, which saw them finish sixth.

Military Ulinzi Stars, the 2010 champions, began their campaign wearing black armbands to mourn their counterparts, having also lost teammate Kevin Ouma in El Adde, Somalia. Robert Matano’s men settled for a goalless draw at home to Sony Sugar.

Sofapaka, who suffered a serious haemorrhage of players, could not have begun on a finer footing after yanking open Ushuru's vaults in Machakos in a 3-1 win. Goals from Brian Nyakan, Gerrald and Heritier Luvualu devalued Roosevelt Blaty’s 16th minute goal and gave coach David Ouma’s some positives going into the new season.

New Tusker coach Paul Nkata was a 2-1 victor at Thika United as Joseph Wanyonyi and Michael Khamati’s goals cancelled out Kennedy Otieno’s goal on the quarter hour mark.

While Wanyonyi and Khamati celebrated their instant impact at the brewers, there was optimism at their previous home, the Ingwe Den, as AFC Leopards clawed their way to a 1-1 draw at home to Mathare United.

Coach Jan Koops, making a return to AFC Leopards, will be encouraged by the fight back after conceding the fastest goal this term in the second minute.

Obadiah Ndege clipped Mathare United ahead, but new boy Andrew Tololwa buried a penalty on the half hour mark to restore parity and a crucial point on day one of the campaign.

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