Is Tusker losing its sheen in Kenyan Premier League?
It now seems that the 2022/2023 Football Kenya Premier League (KPL) title is anyone’s taking going by the shock 3-0 defeat of Tusker by Kenya Police at Moi International Sports Centre (MISC) on Saturday.
The result all gave indications that Tusker will be hard-pressed to retain the league title for the simple reason that they have been blowing hot and cold ever since the league got underway last November.
For a lengthy part of the week ever since Tusker fell 2-1 to Bandari at Mbaraki Sports Ground, the team’s coach Robert Matano has remained bullish, maintaining that losing a match is normal and that sooner rather than later, they shall rediscover their winning touch.
But fast forward, Tusker is increasingly becoming vulnerable to the so-called underdogs with the beating by Police exposing the underbelly of Matano’s charges amidst reports that all is not well with players of the reigning champions due to non-payment of their winning perks
“The fluctuating fortunes of Tusker in the league are least surprising as morale is at an all-time low and whenever you raise the issue, you are targeted by the management. Reprisals are there but there is no way the team can successfully defend the title when there is a lot of demotivation,’’ said a player who declined to be named.
Tusker has now come to realize that the top placing is no one’s birthright and has yet to come to terms that Nzoia has leapfrogged them yet again and taken the lead with a three-point advantage, thanks to a 2-1 win over Ulinzi Stars at the weekend.
As things stand, Nzoia is back in the driving seat with 27 points followed by Gor Mahia, Tusker and KCB who have 24 points apiece.
Although they fail to live up to their billing by failing to repeat the antics of beating their traditional rivals AFC Leopards in a barren draw at Nyayo Stadium, Gor did prove that they are serious contenders for the title as they have joined Nzoia and Tusker in the groove at the frontline of the league.
Meanwhile, KCB is by and large viewed as top contenders for the title but their shilly-shally performance continued in a 1-1 draw with Wazito who are only too eager to get themselves out of the relegation zone.
KCB sits at the fourth position behind Tusker, Gor and Nzoia and will need to overcome their inconsistency if they have hopes of winning their maiden top-tier league title.
During a weekend in which un-fancied sides made a marked improvement, Posta Rangers, who were smarting from a 5-1 humiliation by Kariobangi Sharks, forced FC Talanta to a 1-1 draw.