Voice of Sport

How ironic, Rachier team whips Mwendwa’s at start of trouble-torn Kenyan league

Thrilling league starts at Thika, Nakuru, Awendo; one wonders how much more it would have been were clubs and supporters not put in suspense by senseless hurdles by administrators


2017 KENYAN PREMIER LEAGUE:

Results:

Sunday, March 12:

Mathare United 3-2 Thika United

Kariobangi Sharks 1-3 Gor Mahia

Sony Sugar 0-2 Chemelil Sugar

Zoo Kericho 0-1 Posta Rangers

Saturday, March 11:

Tusker 2-5 Nzoia United

Bandari 1-0 Nakumatt

….

THE only sparkle in the start of the Kenyan Premier League was the best supported team in the country commandingly winning its opening game of the season, a 3-1 beating of debutants Kariobangi Sharks at Thika Municipal Stadium.

Gor Mahia, a club that generates passion while the country continues to be dominated by the rising numbers of colourless teams without support that belonging to corporates or national institutions, made an attractive start to the league. Gor  fans and,  for its own survival, the entire KPL will be pleased by the condition of the three consecutive time winners – 2013, ’14 and ’15. At least Gor might attract much needed spectators at stadiums and passion good for television viewing to the satisfaction of broadcast rights holders.

Thumping

Only a handful of spectators turned up at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru on Saturday for what should have have been a prized treat in the opening match of 2017. New boys Nzoia United thumped current Kenya champions Tusker 5-2. In Mombasa, another debutant, Nakumatt’s first taste of the league was a 0-1 defeat by Bandari.

More eyes were fixed at Sunday and how Gor Mahia would perform against Kariobangi. And on how many of the hard-to-please Gor travelling fans would ignore the adverse publicity the league-start had attracted, trooping to Thika to follow their beloved K’ogalo. A sizeable number did. And the figures will almost surely rise,  following the team that looked pretty much above local class.

First ever

Exciting Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi internationals — Godfrey Walusimbi, Jean-Baptiste Mugiraneza, Jacques Tuyisenge, Meddie Kagere and Karim Abdul Nisigiyimana — all shone in the game depicting Gor as a “no-ordinary” team. Harun Chakava (16th minute), Mugiraneza (38’) and Tuyisenge (88′) got on the Gor score sheet while  for consolation in 90+2 minutes Ugandan signing Martin Odong’o got his and the first ever for Kariobangi in the KPL.

The reason why the KPL was late and will struggle in continuous weekly play to finish before the normal November 19 or thereabout is that Football Kenya Federation [FKF] for an 18-team roster instead of the traditional 16. Managers of KPL asked FKF to make up the increased costs of the competing by injecting millions of shillings. Then FKF expelled two qualified teams over licensing rules and at least one sued in court.

Ironically of the warring parties, Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier is the KPL chairman too. Nicholas Mwendwa, the Kariobangi Sharks chairman is the FKF boss.  The two came head-to-head and the result:  FKF/Kariobangi Sharks 1-3 KPL/Gor Mahia.

Head of Football Kenya Federation [FKF] Nicholas Mwendwa; in the midst of his organisation’s stance about the league his team,  Kariobangi Sharks,  maked debut and slumped 1-3  against Kenya giants Gor Mahia headed by Kenyan Premier League chairman Ambrose Rachier

Kariobangi Sharks 1-3 Gor Mahia

Everyone awaited the look of Premiership freshmen Kariobangi Sharks and how they would play. Standing out was, for instance, Patillah Omotto who hardly three year’s ago was touted as the next big thing and given a Harambee Stars capping; only to prove a flop. He was on the Sharks start roster. So was Harambee Stars old horse Osborne Monday and journeyman ‘extra-ordinaire’ Ibrahim Kitawi who many years ago shone at Gor Mahia.

For the Sharks,  after an enthusiastic start it was a massive struggle to keep up and only managed to camouflage a hiding with and an injury-time consolation goal; the first ever in the Premiership for Sharks and Uganda signing Martin Odong’o. Gor Mahia coach, the World Cup player Marcelo ‘Ze Maria’ Ferreira experimented with a 3-5-2 formation.

Gor Mahia chairman Ambrose Rachier congratulates a young player in a club function. His charges made a good start on Sunday in the controversy-ridden Kenyan Premier League. Rachier is also chairman of the KPL

Dangerous

Sharks dominated the early moments with another player touted as future class Harambee Stars [and already capped] Ovella Ochieng’, Monday and Kitawi looking dangerous on set pieces. But their combination and efforts could not find the back of the net.

Kitawi created two open chances and would have done better with a loose ball inside Kogalo’s territory in the 10th minute but goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch was well positioned to deny Sharks. Eventually, Gor Mahia took full charge.

The way “GOR MAHIA Analyst’ called the game:

  • 2′ Kariobangi Sharks 0-0 Gor Mahia, Boniface Oluoch, Gor, with the first save of the match
  • 4′ Kariobangi Sharks 0-0 Gor Mahia, Godfrey Walusimbi, Gor,  with an attempt but goes wide
  • 6′ Sharks 0-0 Gor , Timothy Otieno with a run on the left, cross easily collected by Sharks ‘keeper Robert Mboya
  • 7′ Walusimbi, Wellington Ochieng’, Kenneth Muguna exchange beautiful passes on the left side of attack. 0-0
  • 11′ 0-0  Sharks win a free kick
  • 12′ 0-0 Sharks first corner of the game, headed out
  • 13′ 0-0 Karim Nzigiyimana Gor free kick about 25 yards away, cleared by Sharks
  • 16′ Sharks 0-1 Gor: GOOAAAAAAAAL! Gor corner defender Harun Chakava runs wide to position himself meeting the bal all to head past former Mathare United ‘keeper Mboya for Gor’s opener
  • 20′ 0-1 Gor wins another corner, Walusimbi delivery collected by Mboya
  • 23′ 0-1 Gor, Walusimbi and Timothy Otieno enjoying exchange of play on the left side of attack
  • 25′ 0-1 Ibrahim  Kitawi for Sharks shoots wide from close range
  • 27′ 0-1 Timothy Otieno picks out Walusimbi on the left, cross collected by Mboya
  • 31′ 0-1 Gor corner, Muguna low delivery, Karim shot goes inches wide
  • 33′ 0-1 Gor corner, Mboya punches into play. Game on
  • 38′ 0-2 GOOAAAAAAAAL! Mugiraneza with his first ever goal for Gor47′  0-2 Walusimbi wins free kick, Walusimbi delivery headed wide by Timothy Otieno
  • 49′  0-2 Tuyisenge brought down, free kick to Gor. Muguna low delivery cleared56′ Walusimbi exchange passes with Mugiraneza, Wellington Ochieng’. Muguna sprays to the right but cut off
  • 0-2 Gor’s Ernest Wendo booked for hard tackle on Lusigi Yidah
  • 0-2 Duke Abuya, Sharks,  with a solo effort, long range shot goes wide
  • 64′ 0-2 Walusimbi with a good run, delivers good cross, Karim with a volley blocked
  • 67′ 0-2 Sharks throw in. Shakava collects, foul by Timothy Otieno who picks up yellow card
  • 69′  0-2 Walusimbi, Muguna seem to have formed good working relationship. Nice exchange of passes
  • 73′ 0-2 Gor sub, Francis Kahata in for Wendo
  • 76′ 0-2 Gor sub, Meddie Kagere in for Timothy Otieno.
  • 83′ 0-2 Kagere wins a foul
  • 85′ 0-2 Karim with his trickery wins a free kick for Gor, delivery punched out by Mboya
  • 88’ 0-3 GOOAAAAAAAAL! Tuyisenge punishes Sharks’ defense mix-up putting past Mboya
  • 90′ 0-3 Stadium charged, Gor fans with praise songs and chants for the MEN
  • 90+2′ 1-3 GOAAL! Martin Odongo pulls back one for Sharks
  • FT: Done with the first round, on to the next – KPL Week 2, Gor Mahia FC v Zoo Kericho, Saturday, March 18,

 

Gor Mahia’s season-opening starters at Thika Municipal Stadium against Thika United on Sunday. Defender Wellington Ochieng’ (right, front) completely hides teammate. The photographer routinely request: “squat’ from those at the front. See what happens when you don’t!

 

Day’s Programme at Thika Municipal Stadium: Kariobangi Sharks v Gor Mahia

Mathare United 3-2 Thika United

Recent Laiser Hill Academy student David “Messi” Owino scored the winner for Mathare United as they beat Thika United 3-2 at Thika Municipal Stadium.

Owino, who had just been promoted from the title-winning Mathare under-20 team, showed he was ready for the big stage when 10 minutes from time he slammed in the winner from close range.

Veteran ex-Kenya defender George Owino had cancelled out Christopher Oruchum’s early goal for Thika before Ronald Okoth took Mathare 2-1 up at the break. Sosthenes Idah restored parity in the second half, but Owino’s late act ensured a young Mathare side started the season with a win.

Confident

Mathare coach Francis Kimanzi was full of praise for his youngsters and remains confident they can keep the performance throughout the season.

“What is important with these young players sometimes is to get that motivation. They have played very well today and it has built their confidence. It wasn’t the easiest of matches, but for a start getting the win was a plus for us.”

Veteran ex-Kenya defender, George Owino (centre) captaining Mathare United and among the scorers in a 3-2 win over Thika United at Thika on Sunday. He celebrates his goal with Lennox Ogutu (left) and Chrispin Oduor

 

Impressed

Thika missed several of their key players and head coach James Nandwa was still impressed despite the loss. “Most starters were unavailable with injury and seeing the patched-up team do this well, I am encouraged. It is sad to lose of course but there are so many positives.”

Nandwa’s injury list also grew just 18 minutes into the match after Nigerian forward Onwudi Chibueze limped off injured to be replaced by Timothy Ludda.

Equaliser

Thika got into the lead in the 23rd minute when Oruchum rose highest inside the box to head home a Baraka Badi corner. Mathare kept knocking on the door for an equaliser and Kaleb Wafula was forced to keep his side in the game.

He leapt high well in the 37th minute to tip over a header from Chris Oduor, but he picked up the ball inside his own net two minutes later after Owino headed home from a corner. A minute to the break, Okoth made it 2-1 for Mathare, tapping home after Cliff Nyakeya’s shot came off the bar.

On the hour mark, Idah drew the sides back level, looping a header over Mathare keeper Wycliffe Kasaya, who had come out to claim Benson Iregi’s corner. Iregi had missed a great chance just a minute earlier from the counter and Idah’s goal wiped some blush off his face.

Mathare, though, got the winner late on with Owino slamming the ball inside past the far post from a Nyakeya pass.

 

Sony Sugar 0-2 Chemelil

And at Awendo Green Stadium, visiting Chemelil Sugar beat hosts Sony Sugar 2-0 with second-half goals from Edwin Omondi, 55th minute and Willis Ouma, 72nd minute.

Veteran Ouma set up Omondi, to score the opener 10 minutes after the restart. The second was a penalty, giving the much-travelled coach Juma Abdalla, more widely known for his Thika United days,  a winning return to the Kenyan Premier League.

The first half was a see-saw affair that saw both sides trade mild chances. Yemi Mwana had the best opportunity but his resultant shot went inches wide. Omondi broke the deadlock rising high to connect home from an Ouma cross 10 minutes after the restart for Chemelil Sugar’s deserved 1-0 lead.

All cylinders

Coach Abdalla made a tactical substitution, bringing on Morris Wandera in place of Oscar Oketch. Ouma then added his name on the score sheet as he stepped forward to score from the spot after Victor Ademba was adjudged to have fouled Collins Neto inside the box.

Chemelil Sugar had a good start-of-season visit to Awendo on Saturday winning the “Sugar Belt Derby” 2-0 against big rivals Sony Sugar

 

The hosts worked on turning the game with more dominance, buoyed by the introduction of George Abege towards the hour mark but it was not enough to stop Chemelil Sugar who were firing on all cylinders.

The visitors fought tooth and nail, holding on to the important win as they claimed the bragging rights in the “Sugar Belt Derby” and first game of the season victory — sweetly away from home.
TEAMS:

SONY SUGAR:

31 Kevin Omondi (Gk):

6 Bernard Omondi

3 Samuel Okare

13 Justin Omari

17 Joseph Omweri

21 Frederick Onyango

10 Boniface Muchiri

20 Victor Ademba

7 Rampei Lewis

15 Justin Monda

14 Yemi Mwana

Reserves: 22 Tom Muthomi, 26 Alfred Onyango, 12 David Simiyu 8 Valon Mahero 24 George Abege 31 Curtis Wekesa, 4 Hamissi Abdalla

CHEMELIL SUGAR:

22 Jairus Adira (Gk):

 13 Willis Ouma

5 James Omino

26 Smith Ouko

3 Yusuf Juma

2 David Ojwang’

12 Hillary Echesa

6 Edwin Omondi

20 Oscar Oketch/14 Morris Wandera Obuno

11 Jaffery Owiti

18 Collins Neto

Reserves: 32 Richard Ayimo (Gk): 23 Benjamin Oketch, 17 Mustapha Adebayo, 25 Faraj Ominde, 10 Shafan Oyugi, 28 John Mwita

Coach: Juma Abdallah

 Zoo Kericho 0-1 Posta Rangers

It was Zoo Kericho, their intended home ground not ready, who took their game 100 km away, almost for a halfway meeting with Posta Rangers of Nairobi 100m east.

Rangers recovered from a poor start and after Gilbert Onsonga had been sent off in the 72nd minute to beat Zoo Kericho 1-0. The goal was by experienced ex-Tusker and Kenya striker Denis Mukaisi in the 77th minute.

Saturday:

Tusker 2-5 Nzoia

New team Nzoia United had a dream Kenyan Premier League start stunning defending champions Tusker 5-2 at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on Saturday.

It looked routine when the title holders’ speedy winger Noah Wafula sent his side ahead in the ninth minute, but Elvis Rupia cancelled matters 12 minutes later.

Nzoia won a penalty in the 41st minute which former AFC Leopards defender Edwin Wafula converted for a 2-1 lead but Uganda international Shafik Batambuze slotted in a free kick for the Brewers moments after the re-start to restore parity.

Former AFC Leopards and Kenya’s Edwin Wafula (right) and Boniface Omondi celebrate one of Nzoia United goals at Afraha Stadium, Nakuru on their way to an upset 5-2 rout of the Kenyan Premier League champions Tusker

 

A curling corner from defender Brian Otieno in the 51st minute caught Tusker goalkeeper Duncan Ochieng’ napping as Nzoia surged ahead again. Fifteen minutes later, the prominent Otieno rose high to head the ball past Ochieng’ and bring the score to an unbelievable 4-2 for Nzoia.  Former Agrochemicals (National Super League) player Boniface Omondi then completed Nzoia’s unlikely rout 10 minutes to the end.

Tusker’s Clifford Alwanga had his penalty saved by Nzoia ‘keeper Benson Mang’ala three minutes to time. It was that bad for the Ruaraka (Nairobi) based side.

 TEAMS:

TUSKER:

1 Duncan Ochieng’ (Gk):

2 James Situma (captain)

28 Samuel Olwande

25 Eugene Asike

27 Lloyd Wahome

13 Hashim Sempala

15 Cercidy Okeyo

26 Noah Wafula

18 Clifford Alwanga

6 Shafik Batambuze

Reserves: David Okello (Gk): 4 Martin Kiza, 5 Vincent Omumbo, 21 Sydney Ochieng’, 8 Brian Osumba, 19 Michael Khamati, 9 Victor Ndinya

Team manager: George Opondo

Assistant coach: Francis Baraza

Coach: George “Best” Nsimbe (Uganda)

NZOIA UNITED:

39 Benson Mangala (Gk):

14 Edwin Wafula

16 Hilary Wandera

28 Brian Otieno

34 Vincent Ngesa (captain)

4 Peter Gin Juma

10 Boniface Omondi

24 Lawrence Juma

20 Masuta Masita

33 Elvis Rupia

12 Luke Namanda

Reserves: 23 Mustapha Oduor (Gk): 26 Festus Okiring, 22 Joachim Oluoch, 17 Jonathan Lodaket, 18 Patrick Kwitonda, 7 Michael POsundwa, 6 Benjamin Muchuma

Team manager: Evans Kadenge

Assistant coach: Vincent Sifuna

Head coach: Bernard Mwalala

Match commissioner: Maqulate Akorot

4th official: Caroline Wanjala

Assistant referee: John Alando

Asst ref: Beatrice Achieng’

Referee: Moses Osano

Bandari 1-0 Nakumatt

Former Gor Mahia striker Enock Agwanda scored in Bandari’s 1-0 home over visiting Nakumatt of Nairobi at Kenya Ports Authority [KPA] Sports Club, Mbaraki Mombasa. It was a first half strike.

Bandari start season with 1-0 home win at Kenya Ports Authority [KPA] Sports Club in Mbaraki, Mombasa over league first-timers Nakumatt of Nairobi

TheDockers’ had played the new league visitors twice in the last two years in the GOtv Shield with Bandari putting a total of six goals past them, conceding a single goal in the process.

Nakumatt started on a high note, trying to get their hosts off guard through incisive passing, but they failed to go past a well-organized defense. The hosts’ ‘keeper Sammy Okinda was called into action after 17 minutes, denying the dangerous Anthony Wambani.

-Additional reporting by Correspondents, KPL, SuperSport