2017 Kenya Premier League Champions announced their title defence intent with a resounding 4-0 victory over Nakumatt as a new season of the Kenyan top flight competition took off on Saturday.
A Meddie Kagere hat-trick and a Wellington Ochieng icing ensured Dylann Kerr’s side charged to the top of the log on the very first day of the season. Coming from a slender 1-0 win in the Super Cup a week earlier, Gor showed great improvement as they put on a dominant display that gave Nakumatt little chance to get in the game.
A fluid frontline of Kagere, Ernest Wendo, and Francis Kahata kept probing the Nakumatt defence from early on but it was not until late in the first half that they managed to get the ball into the net. Kagere found himself on the right end of a counter-attack move and coolly slotted home past Lucas Indeche to send the green army into celebration.The one nil lead stood at halftime, but it really didn’t depict the match situation.
The Rwandan was again on the Nakumatt case after the breather, adding two to his tally in the 54th and 80th minutes to put the game out of Nakummatt’s reach. Ochieng added a fourth in the 82nd to put the icing on an already glorious day for the Gor family. The false start for Nakumatt piles pressure on a side already grappling with sponsorship problems as the Nakumatt chain of supermarkets exits the Kenyan market.
Elsewhere, newly promoted Vihiga fell 1-2 to Mathare at home, Wazito won 1-0 over Sony Sugar and Kariobangi Sharks edged Nzoia Sugar 1-0. Last season’s runners-up Sofapaka was felled 0-3 by Bandari, Thika United fell 0-1 to Kakamega Homeboyz, AFC Leopards drew 1-1 with Posta Rangers, Chemelil Sugar saw off Tusker 2-0 and Ulinzi rounded Zoo FC 4-2.
It was a thrilling start for a league which has suffered a shock exit of man sponsor Sportpesa. There were goals in all nine matches; eight wins and just one draw. 23 goals in all on the first round of fixtures.
The league matches on into the second round beginning Friday when Nakumatt welcome Thika and Mathare host Nzoia Sugar.
Issues of funds and the relationship between FKF and KPL will be of major interest this season.