The Kenyan football scene has witnessed some tremendous growth over the past few years. We still have our own challenges but that does not mean we should overlook the great strides we have made over the past few years. Now known as the FKF Premier League and sponsored by betting firm Betking, the future looks bright for football fans in the country.
With the right management and infrastructure, we will soon beat the likes of Tanzania who are now running the show with the Vodacom Premier League – the only league in Sub-Saharan Africa with all its matches broadcasted. This will however not be a walk in the park and only the fans can make it possible. Let’s all return the the stadiums!
Formed in 1963 under the Kenya Football Federation as the KPL, the FKF Premier League has 18 clubs. Gor Mahia are the league’s current champions and most successful club, with a record 18 titles to their name.
AFC Leopards have 12, Tusker 11 and Military Men Ulinzi Stars close the top four with 4 titles. Sony Sugar, Mathare United and Sofapaka all have a title each.
The league was considered more lucrative in the 1990s only for things to later take a sad turn as a number of clubs later struggled to make ends meet due to lack of finances. This is however changing with clubs like Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards recently getting a sponsor in Betsafe. Others like Sofapaka FC and Mathare United seem to have great relationships with their sponsors Betika and Mozzarbet respectively.
While some clubs went down completely after relegation, others like Kakamega Homeboyz, Wazito FC, Zoo FC and Kariobangi Sharks found their way up and are now flexing muscles with the Big boys.
Gor Mahia has continued it’s dominance in the local scene while Western Stima looks like our Ajax FC. The ex-powermen keep producing and selling some of their best players year in, year out. We will be keeping a close eye on them this season as they aim to replicate last season’s form that saw them finish 7th.
The resurgence of AFC Leopards continues and with great thinking men like Dan Shikanda in office, Gor Mahia should be worried. Ingwe are curently getting everything right management-wise.
We cannot forget about Kariobangi Sharks- coming from the National Super League and showing us that great football can still be played even without all the hype their counterparts get. Coach William Muluya, just like ex-Bandari coach Bernard Mwalala have done great.
And we cannot forget to talk about Wazito FC, all the way from the NSL to the KPL, the Aidos Kuneen sponsored side are doing everything right outside the pitch and it is only a matter of time before this is replicated on the pitch. Ricardo Badoer, the man calling the shots at this great club is truly a saviour to the Kenyan football scene. He made many clubs wake up from slumber. Thanks to him and Wazito, a number of teams now have buses after his team acquired one. Teams like AFC Leopards are coming up with a club store just like Wazito and the presentation of players has improved a great deal. Gone are the days when players could line up in their bathroom slippers and have photos taken using a low megapixels Motorola Phone. Wazito have helped change the game for us.
With all these in mind, we shall over the next few weeks highlight defining moments in the Kenya Premier League. We shall talk about the good and the bad as we wait for resumption of football around the country.
Keep it Sportsplug for more and feel free to reach us for any input on this project.