After four rounds of matches for most teams in the BetKing Premier League, here’s a review of Match Day 4 that took place from Thursday 17-Sunday 20 December.
1. Stima switch off Ingwe’s lights.
After a searing start to life in the BKPL, AFC Leopards, one of the only two teams with a 100% record after three rounds, were finally brought back to earth after Western Stima defeated them 2-0 to stain their hitherto clean slate. Tellingly, AFC Leopards always seem to come short against Western Stima. The occasion always too grand for them. Their bogey team. Former players have also intimated how Western Stima have a culture of not losing to Ingwe. Heading to the game, Western Stima only had one point from the opening three fixtures: A draw with Bidco and two losses to Sofapaka and Tusker, 3-1 and 5-2 respectively. Against Ingwe, the script remained unchanged as Stima grabbed all three points after scoring two goals in the dying embers of the game, deep into stoppage time. Since 2010, Leopards have only won six out of 20 matches against Stima. A 30% win percentage. On the other hand, Western Stima have won eight out of 20 games. A 40% win percentage. The other six games have been draws.
2. No foul against Wazito.
‘To sum it up quickly, I’m always in favour of scoring one more goal than the opposition.’ Those were the words of a new coach during his unveiling. True to his words, football is always about scoring one more than your opponent. Sometimes conceding doesn’t matter, the win is more important. In a bid to create more goal scoring opportunities, teams tend to think of other ideas to create chances at their opponent’s goal. Wazito’s brainchild is set pieces, especially around the box. That’s growing to be their forte. Boasting arguably the best two set piece takers in the league in Dennis Ng’ang’a and Kevin Kimani, many teams have adopted to this ‘no foul’ tactic against them when defending around the box. Against Posta Rangers on Match Day 3 and Ulinzi Stars this past weekend, one would hear ‘no foul’ shouts oozing in the background, from the players on the field but more incessantly and emphatically from the technical bench, a subliminal message passed to them you reckon, as a reminder of the threat they pose on set pieces around the box. Interestingly though, in a game where Ulinzi Stars were comfortable all game, Wazito’s major threat came when they had a set piece near Ulinzi’s box in the 76th minute. However, Dennis Ng’ang’a skied his chance this time round. Dennis Ng’ang’a has already proven that he has the potential to convert set pieces after curling one beautifully past Vihiga United in Match Day 2. Kevin Kimani and Ng’ang’a have also hit the bar once on separate occasions against Posta Rangers in Match Day 3. So, next time, lest you forget. ‘No foul’
3. Fare Thee Well John Baraza.
‘Baraza has been my player, I took him for coaching classes and the team is now doing very well under him. Why should I change a winning side?’ Sofapaka President, Elly Kalekwa ‘The signings that we brought in are very dedicated and are blending well with the rest of the team. There is a healthy competition among them. I am confident they will give us what we had lacked in the abandoned 19/20 season and we will be among the top teams contesting for the league title this season.’ John Baraza, then Sofapaka head coach. ‘Obviously the performance has not been good with the kind of quality players we signed for him.’ Elly Kalekwa. ‘Its a hard decision leaving, this has been a family to me for the years have been around. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to honestly thank everyone involved with Sofapaka family, the president, the playing unit, the CEO and the entire staff. They have really been an amazing family, I appreciate the support, the respect, the love that everyone showed me.’ John Baraza. You know the drill now. One moment you’re here, the next you are gone. That’s the life of a coach. Always on spines.
John Baraza became the first coach to get the sack after a string of poor results left Batoto ba Mungu president frustrated following losses to Bandari and Leopards in the opening three fixtures. Baraza becomes the second coach to exit after season had begun. Leopards Thomas Trucha was the first to leave, apparently citing fears for his safety in the country.
4. Super sub Matano.
When the game is flat and you need three points, do you know who to call on? Robert Matano, Tusker head coach, pulled the rabbit out the hat, twice in five days, against defending champions Gor Mahia then Vihiga United, to walk away with six points in games that he could have easily walked away with only two at most. Against Gor, he introduced Luke Namanda and Henry Meja in the second half hoping to walk away with everything. Namanda won the ball in midfield before squaring it to Meja who broke KOgalo’s hearts in the 79th minute. Against Vihiga United on Sunday, as the game stretched into a lull, Matano once again introduced Humprey Mieno, Luke Namanda and Henry Meja who overturned the game in the second half. Mieno received a pass from Sempala, picked out Boniface Muchiri, who floated a cross to Namanda to head the ball back to Jackson Macharia for an easy tap in to score the only goal that won the game. Robert Matano at your service.
5.Vihiga love Red, the card.
If there is an ongoing competition for raking in red cards by a certain team in Europe, then the memo must have clearly trickled its way down to the BetKing Premier League side Vihiga United. Out of the opening four games, Vihiga have finished three games with 10 men after collecting three red cards in three games although all in different situations. Against Wazito, Sammy Sindani was given a second yellow for dissent during the half time interval. Against Tusker, Abisalom Onyango was given a second yellow for ineligibly stopping a Tusker attack and against Kakamega Homeboyz Henry Juma was given a straight red card. Although coach Sammy Okoth says they are not a true reflection of his side, missing out on players through suspension is not a pleasing thing when your aim is to stay in the league.
Matchday 4 Results.
BPL League Standings after matchday 4.
Matchday 5 fixtures.