The second leg of the Kenyan Premier League gets underway this weekend with a marathon of fixtures on the menu.
Taking up from where one left is the cliché in the world of sports but only one club, Gor Mahia, will feel comfortable subscribing to that line of thought. The two-time defending champions and current league leaders finished the first leg unbeaten which left them sitting comfortably on top, 12 points ahead of the chasing pack.
The rest of the teams, 15 in total, should be desperate to turn things round.
None more than basement side Nakuru All Stars.
Peter Okidi, the man behind the futile tactics at the fast-sinking side, managed a single win in the first leg which came against Sony Sugar, them guided by Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno who is working miracles if the desire is to keep the former champions down.
Okidi’s ultimate dream must have been to face the Millers again in their first match of the second leg. Had he, Okidi, the powers, he would have used his very last of airtime to ring KPL top bosses and request for a change of fixture, ‘give me Sony Sugar pliz’, he would have said before Safaricom decides his airtime is done.
But he has no such powers. Unlucky chap.
All Stars, despite their marquee signing of Patrick Oboya, look destined to win a ‘massive’ single game in the second half again. It could probably come against Sony, if all factors remain constant and Zico keeps his job by the time they meet later in the season.
Not good enough
When you have more defeats than the number of total points, then you know you are destined for an embarrassment; that you are dining on a table you should be wiping instead.
Seven points, 10 defeats, four draws and a single win with 13 goals scored and 35 conceded is the story of Nakuru All Stars. That is familiar. It could be a good idea to drop the ‘stars’ name. Nakuru All sounds incomplete but that’s exactly what they are; an incomplete side rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty.
They get off with arguably the worst fixture they would have wished for this early, facing a side in dire need of redemption and whose coach is fighting hard to keep his job.
Francis Kimanzi has somehow managed to hang on at Tusker FC despite producing results that would see any manager in a top club sent packing. But they have kept him, and it could come back and bite.
Tusker won 3-1 in their first leg encounter with at Afraha and were also 3-0 winners when the Brewers played host to All Stars.
Should Tusker be held to a draw like they were in their first meeting with All Stars, that will be a major upset. Should they be beaten, Kimanzi should do the unprecedented; resign.
After they are done (losing to Tusker), All Stars face fierce rivals at the basement; Nairobi City Stars. The duo battled to 1-1 stalemate towards the tail end of the first leg and a similar result in the second leg will see the champagne pop from both camps.
The third and fourth round of fixtures for All Stars are, tough, very tough, by their standards. An away tie against Muhoroni Youth then Western Stima. If the respective 3-1 and 1-0 defeats in the first leg are anything to go by, we don’t really expect Okidi and his lieutenants to get anything from the two fixtures.
Fixture number 20, 21 and 22 will be against champions and league leaders Gor Mahia, fellow Afraha-side Ulinzi Stars and giants AFC Leopards.
Lest we forget, All Stars two seasons ago managed a historic 2-0 win over the Gor Mahia Green Army, a fete few teams have indeed managed to achieve.
Thoughts of a repeat for that should land one at Mathari mental hospital. Money from gate collection, losta it, should be appreciated in advance before another 5-0 drubbing, or more, is dished with ease.
Then come the soldiers, the rightful football owners of Nakuru County, Afraha Stadium and everything football in the county. The Robert Matano side won 3-1 in the corresponding fixture, and don’t expect anything less than, or more, served cold.
As matters stand now, All Stars might fancy themselves against AFC Leopards. They must be praying that things at the Den won’t change. That some Ugandan goalkeeper will be between the posts.
For the sake of Kenya’s football, the Ingwe house should be in order and it will BE (we hope and believe) by the time they face All Stars on the 8th of August. An Ingwe house in order stabs with great abandon.
And so, going by the first seven fixtures, there is no hope All Stars. On the 8th of August 2015, at Afraha Stadium, in front of their home crowd, against AFC Leopards, by 5pm, they will be relegated, to the lower league; where they belong.
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