Ready for resumption
Local clubs yesterday intensified their training as Football Kenya Federation (FKF)- Premier League organisers released new fixtures for the resumption of the competition next Wednesday after more than a month of non-action, following the suspension of all sporting activities by the government due to coronavirus.
Current league leaders Tusker wasted no time as they continued to seek players fitness at their base in Ruaraka, while fourth placed Kariobangi Sharks were training at Utalii Grounds and Sofapaka were doing their thing at Eastleigh High School under the tutelage of coach Ken Odhiambo and newly appointed club’s sporting director David Ouma.
The fixtures schedule is tight and will see teams play back-to-back matches to make up for lost time and also rush to complete the competition just incase another surge emerges, to force yet another suspension.
Reigning league champions Gor Mahia resume action against Wazito FC on Wednesday, the same day third placed AFC Leopards play Mathare United. Kariobangi Sharks will face Kakamega Homeboyz in the next resumption tie on Friday.
According to the latest fixtures, the league competition is expected to end on August 28th, but interestingly the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has directed all federations to submit names of their Champions League and Confederation Cup representatives by June 30, almost two months to the league conclusion.
However, club bosses are ready to go into the grueling schedule which will see most teams play three matches in 10 days.
Kakamega Homeboyz Chairman Cleophas Shimanyula believes it is long overdue that the games are resuming and so it will be up to competing teams to prepare adequately.
“I know we might have tight schedules and that concern is valid. However, because we have timelines, we really must get going.
These players depend on football and because they are professionals, I do not think there will be any challenges.
It has been hard on all of us but since the fixtures are finally out, it means even the sponsors of the league and broadcasters will pour money again into this project,” Shimanyula told People Sport.
Tusker Head Coach Robert Matano is happy with the resumption but wants all teams with matches at hand to finish their matches before the Brewers can resume round 17.
“We are obviously happy and my players have been training individually. It is important for match fitness that we have resumed.
We want to challenge for the title like others so it is a chance to get the desired results. We just need to ensure all teams begin on equal footing,” he said.
the legendary tactician.
Tusker currently lead the log on 36 points from 16 matches with some teams like Gor Mahia and AFC Leopards having played only 14 matches in the first leg by the time the league was suspended mid-March.
Gor Mahia Skipper Harun Shakava on his part has rallied his troops to put a disappointing start to the season behind them and fight to retain the title.
“We have had a poor run this season but I am sure we can just have a positive attitude.
We want to go and challenge for the title because as defending champions a lot of eyes are on us.
It is definitely a good thing that we are back in action,” he said of his team that are currently seventh on the log with 22 points.
AFC Leopards Captain Robinson Kamura was also of the opinion that getting back to the groove soon will ensure players get fitness quick.
“Players have been out for a long time and so we have to quickly get back to our top level. It was a good decision for sports to resume because a lot of us struggled during the suspension,” said Kamura.