Gor Mahia's juggernaut & Nzoia's receding sweetness Sugar's: Five takeaways from gameweek 30 of the FKFPL

Gor Mahia's juggernaut & Nzoia's receding sweetness Sugar's: Five takeaways from gameweek 30 of the FKFPL

Mark Kinyanjui 12:00 - 21.05.2024

Here are five things we learnt from gamweek 30 of the FKFPL.

Following the conclusion of gameweek 30 of the Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) on Monday afternoon, the league is now approaching its final stretch.

There was plenty to talk about this weekend, including the fact that Gor Mahia delivered a record 21st league crown to give head coach Johnathan McKinstry a proper send-off, as well as the fact that Nzoia Sugar cooked their own goose which resulted in painful relegation from the topflight.

Pulse Sports takes you through five major talking points from the weekend of FKFPL action that was:

1. Patrick Matasi - What is going on? 

It was a week to forget for the Harambee Stars goalkeeper. Matasi's mistakes have proven costly, with the latest occurring during their match against Tusker on Saturday at the Police Sacco Grounds.

This error is the second in less than a week, negatively impacting his team. Last Wednesday, at Dandora Stadium, Matasi mishandled a seemingly simple cross from Victor Omune, resulting in a goal that ended Kenya Police's unbeaten streak across all competitions this year.

On Saturday, Matasi misjudged another delivery into the area, missing the ball and allowing Charles Momanyi to score the winning goal for Tusker. The former AFC Leopards goalkeeper has tended to have problems commanding his area, and the two scenarios showed it.

Ahead of their FKF Cup semi-final against Leopards this weekend, he has to find his saving gloves again in training to help him regain his confidence. He is the literal first choice Harambee Stars goalkeeper at the moment. He cannot afford to make these mistakes against Burundi and Ivory Coast in June.

2. Gor Mahia are inevitable

Gor Mahia has successfully retained the Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) title winning it for the 21st time in the club’s history.

K'Ogalo defeated Muhoroni Youth 3-0 on Sunday, ensuring they retain the title with three matches remaining in the season, thanks to goals from Benson Omala, Boniface Omondi, and Austin Odhiambo.

With their triumph, Gor Mahia have made a dramatic turnaround over the course of the season to clinch the title.

Their win also means that this is the eighth league title they have won since 2013, a period in which they knocked AFC Leopards off their patch of 12 titles to start a run.  They are winning and ruthless machines.

3. Akhulia pockets AFC Leopards again

When it comes to AFC Leopards, Bidco United head coach Amos Ahkulia always seems to have answers. They have become Ingwe’s bogey side.

In eight matches, Bidco have won four, drawn two,and lost just two. On Sunday, Akhulia once again outsmarted the Leopards bench. 

He adopted a pragmatic approach, before in classic Bidco style, punished his opponents on the counter attack thanks to his dangerous wingers and the clinical nature of Kevin Ndung’u.

This now means Bidco are 10th on 44 points, just three behind Leopards, who dropped to sixth place. Only four points separate fourth and 10th place, so Bidco could still fancy a chance of finishing as high as possible.

4. Is Makwatta on the verge of stealing the golden boot

John Mark Makwatta could end up repeating his trick from the first leg of the 2019/2020 season where he scored for fun as an AFC Leopards striker before moving to Zesco United just before the start of the COVID pandemic.

Having joined Kariobangi Sharks on a free transfer midway through the season, he has now scored 13 goals, and is now just three short of Benson Omala, who scored his 16th of the season during their 3-0 win over Muhoroni.

With three games to go, do not be surprised if Makwatta scored more goals to steal the golden boot. He is in a team that is playing a brand of football that suits him, with their emphasis to work the ball into the box.

5. End of the road for Nzoia Sugar

Bungoma-based FKF Premier League side Nzoia Sugar FC fell to the second tier after a crucial 0-0 draw against Nairobi City Stars last Sunday at Mumias Sports Complex. 

The outcome marks the end of their turbulent campaign in the top tier, representing not just a setback for the club but also a significant loss for the Premier League at large. 

Last season, they were challenging for the league title under now-Kenya Police boss Salim Babu, who was playing a swash-buckling style of football while maximizing on the strengths of quality players like Joseph Mwangi, James Kibande and Kevin Juma, who were all poached by bigger clubs at the end of the season.

There were also frequent changes in the coaching staff, with three different men taking charge this season, which disrupted the team's stability and performance. 

To rub salt in the wound, they have gone through tough economic times, and following the retirement of long-standing chairman Evans Kadenge before the start of the season, it was understandable there would be administrative challenges.

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