Football activities in the country are set to resume next week. The resumption will mark an end to a period of sports inactivity in the country. Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the country in March of this year, there has been very minimal going on in the sports industry. The governing body has received a go-ahead from the national government however is set to change the ‘new normal’. FKF has planned the resumption of the new BetKing Premier League to be on 28th of this month.
The top tier league as a result of the current pandemic had been suspended in the country. All other contact sports in the country had been suspended from holding training and competitions. It’s however what the country risks that have made both the federation and the government to rethink of the ban.
In the East African region, for instance, its only Kenya that is yet to resume their league. Other leading leagues in the region such as Tanzania and Uganda are already on. Burundi and Rwanda are some of the East African nations whose domestic leagues are currently on.
Kenya will have Gor Mahia representing them at the continental assignments. This is perhaps one of the reasons that made the government give a green light on football activity in the country. As the representative of the country at the continental stage, the club had been given an earlier green light to start their training. That was supposed to aid them in competing ‘fairly’ with other clubs in Africa.
The waited BetKing Premier League will have the usual 18 teams competing for the crown. Some of the likely candidates to win the league includes;
1. Gor Mahia
Gor Mahia are the defending champions of the league. Having dominated the local scene for the past eight years, the club will, of course, be up to win the league. The club has been very active in the recent transfer window. From their signings, there is no reasonable doubt that Gor Mahia has prepared themselves for the BetKing Premier League.
In place also, the club has signed a new coach that will be taking them into the new season. The new coach Oliveira Goncalves will have many assignments with the leading one being winning the league.
Unlike last season, Gor Mahia has secured a sponsor for the next three seasons. Coupled with league sponsorship and other partnerships in place, hopes are very high that the club is going to win the league without players drummer.
Gor Mahia must, however, recognize that it’s not going to be an easy task for this season. With every other club looking forward to unseating them at the top, the club will have to work tirelessly hard. With tough opponents in the first five matches, the club should avoid at all cost losing points very early.
We can only hope that K’ogalo wins the inaugural BetKing Premier League as well as their fifth title in a row.
The brewers are always among the top contenders in each and every season. Since Gor Mahia’s dominance in the league in 2013, they are the only club that has denied Gor Mahia a league trophy. The Ruaraka based club managed to win the 2016 edition of SportPesa Premier League after Gor Mahia were knocked off points.
In the abandoned season of 2019/2020, the club had come very close in winning the league trophy. Coached by the experienced Robert Matano, the eleven times premier league champions have no other option but to come for the league.
The 2016 champions are set to lock horns with the defending champions in on the first day of the league.
Will they wrestle the league from the perennial champions? Only time shall tell as the new season kicks off very soon.
3. AFC Leopards SC
AFC Leopards is another lot of promising clubs to win the BetKing Premier League this season. The Dan Shikanda club has gone through a revolutionary phase to reach where they are today.
First of all, is their capable chairman and secondly the good performance they have shown since the reign of Rwandese Cesa Mbugo. In the abandoned 2019/20 season, the club came very close in challenging the league title.
Their coming close was however short-lived as the league was suspended owing to the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
For the BetKing Premier League this season, the club has an enormous task ahead of them. The first assignment of the club will be to win any trophy for their fans. Their second prominent target will be to end a title drought which now extends to 22 years.
AFC Leopards SC have not managed to win the league title since 1998 when they last had a taste of the silverware. For a leading club in the calibre of AFC Leopards SC, that’s a period too long to be called giants in a league.
Apart from winning the title, Ingwe has a very big target ahead of them. The club have not won any match against their archrivals Gor Mahia since 2016. That one put into consideration, has put the famous Mashemeji Derby behind the doors. The fanfare, tension, brouhaha and razzmatazz the derby is long known for is no longer there. Fans in the recent times, have been able to predermine results of the derby unlike before.
4. Kakamega Homeboyz FC
The Cleophas Shimanyula owned side poses a great threat to the defending champions more than any other team. Since gaining promotion into the top tier league in 2016, the Kakamega based Homeboyz have been on the rise each and every season.
Was it not for the outbreak of COVID-19 that led to the abruption of the league calendar, the club could have won the league. Kakamega Homeboyz were at the time of suspending the league neck to neck with Gor Mahia. What differentiated the club from the eventual champions was the seven-point deficit to the champions.
The 2019/202 season, however, looked like the season the club had been looking for. On the field, they showed the brilliance, passion and determination to win the league. What now awaits the club as the BetKing Premier League kicks off is for them to start with the same tempo they had last season.
One noble challenge that the club is more likely to face is the bare fact that they have lost dependable members of the squad. First on the line was the departure of Peter Thiong’o to AFC Leopards SC on the final day of the transfer window.
The second obstacle that the club is more likely going to face is the untimely departure of their coach Nicholas Muyoti. Muyoti has been a key figure in the recent rise of the club. His absence from the club will therefore more likely to affect the club. Thiong’o on the other hand has been a highly dependable and reliable player for the Kakamega based side.
It will now be interesting to see how the club will manoeuvre at the departure of the two. Will they really manage? Time is the factor.
5. Bandari FC
The Coastal based Bandari FC beats other clubs for position five of the top contenders.
Save for last season when the club struggled to find their foot I the league, Bandari is naturally a good club. They offer competition when called upon and they do their best anytime they are able to.
In the recent past, Bandari FC has managed to reserve position two of the league to themselves. Coming head-to-head with defending champions have always offered the club a better chance to win the league. With AFC Leopards falling in the shadows, Bandari FC has since then risen to be Gor Mahia’s greatest challengers in the league.
Rare have been situations in the top tier league with Gor Mahia wining a double header against the coastal side.
In the previous season that was disrupted by COVID-19, the club managed to get a chance in representing the country at the continental level. The representation at the continental level yes they wore out the club but we can’t forget to mention the experience gained.
As BetKing Premier League begins in the next one, the club can only hope for stability. With stability in place, Bandari FC will be a force to reckon with in the season to start.
Will they unseat Kogalo? It’s a matter of time. Let’s wait and see what happens.