Before we get into matchday 18 of the BetKing Premier League, we take you through some of the topics we saw in the previous round.
The rise of AFC leopards
AFC leopards were only one of the four teams to register a victory and, although it was a slim one goal lead, it was enough to take them to second in the league. They have played one match less than Tusker and should they win their game in hand, they’ll be at the top of the standings at the halfway point of the league.
Coach Patrick Aussems has been instrumental at the den; picking up from where Anthony Kimani left and has won four, drawn once and lost only one game – which was in his first match against Bandari. A chance to represent the country in the continent should they cement top spot will serve as extra motivation for the team.
Only seven points separate the top five clubs with 4th placed KCB and second placed AFC leopards each having a game in hand. Defending champions Gor Mahia are a distant sixth but have two games in hand meaning that if they win those, the title race will even get more competitive.
Sharks and KCB have been the surprise packages after some thought they would drop after their early season good performances and it would be very interesting if either of them goes all the way and win their maiden title.
A low scoring weekend
There were only nine goals scored in the eight fixtures which is among the least scored in a single weekend. Goals shipped in matchday 17 are only two more than the high scoring fixture between Western Stima and Tusker played last year that ended 2-5.
Only two players in the top ten goal scorers found the net for their sides but there will surely be more goals after teams get back to their peak fitness levels.
Reduced fitness for the clubs
The performances of almost all the teams drastically dropped off during the weekend with only Sofapaka scoring non set piece goals in the final fifteen matches of their tie. Having stayed 52 days without any league action, this was expected. With the league having to make up for lost time, the games will surely be more and players will have to be at their peak fitness level to compete at their best.
Clean sheets galore.
It was a good day for the goalkeepers and their defense after 8 teams recorded clean sheets. Several goalkeepers stood out with Benjamin Ochan of AFC Leopards doing well to keep Nzoia Sugar at bay in the second half, Aiga Abdoul saving Wazito’s Kevin Kimani’s penalty in the third minute and possibly changing the nature of the game, Edwin Mukolwe pulling save after save to ensure Bandari did not score more than one and Mathare’s Job Ochieng who achieved the man of the match accolade after keeping out fellow struggling side Vihiga United.
Return of ‘new’ ground
Ruaraka grounds which was black listed two years ago was given the green light to hold top flight matches and was used in three games in the weekend. It is the home ground of table toppers Tusker who drew in their first game back but should challenge themselves to make it a fortress as they search for their 12th league title.