McKinstry's potential Gor Mahia farewell & is Dandora Stadium overused? Five takeaways from FKFPL game week 29

McKinstry's potential Gor Mahia farewell & is Dandora Stadium overused? Five takeaways from FKFPL game week 29

Mark Kinyanjui 11:07 - 13.05.2024

The talking points from gameweek 29 of the 2023/2024 FKFPL.

As  the FKF Premier League approaches its final stretch , Gor Mahia stands on the cusp of claiming their 21st league title with just two more victories needed from their remaining five matches.

 While the spotlight shines on Gor's dominance, the battle to evade relegation intensifies at the lower end of the table.

In the pursuit of the coveted second spot in the standings, Kenya Police, Tusker FC, and Bandari will engage in a fierce competition, adding an extra layer of excitement to the league's climax.

However, for teams like Nzoia Sugar, the struggle to avoid relegation appears increasingly daunting, with their fate seemingly sealed unless a dramatic turnaround occurs. 

Meanwhile, clubs such as Ulinzi Stars, FC Talanta, Shabana FC, Muhoroni Youth, and Sofapaka find themselves locked in a desperate bid to secure their top-flight status for another season.

Without further ado, here are the talking points from gameweek 29 of the 2023/2024 FKFPL season:

Dandora Stadium being taken a toll of

The Dandora Stadium could be at risk of becoming completely worn out and destroyed like Camp Toyoyo given the amount of games that are being played on that ground on a daily basis, let alone a weekend one.

Over the last three days alone, a National Super League fixture, Women’s Premier League game and four FKFPL fixtures have been played there.

There is a concerning lack of adequate facilities in Nairobi County, especially given Kasarani has been closed for renovations, and Nyayo Stadium has been unavailable for use since the Mashemeji Derby.

If you go to Jericho, you will be appalled by the worn-out nature of the turf there. Dandora could be at risk of the same thing barely two months since being opened.

Farewell for Johnny McKinstry?

The build up to Gor Mahia’s clash against Shabana was overshadowed by talks that K’ogalo’s tactician Johnathan McKinstry was on the verge of accepting a new job as Gambia National Team coach, which means he will be coaching against Harambee Stars at some point.

The team went on to beat Shabana 1-0 thanks to a Benson Omala, but there is a good chance McKinstry will not be at the club for much longer. According to reports, the plan is to lead Gor Mahia to win the title, before he flies off to Gambia to take over as coach, with assistant boss Michael Nam set to oversee the club’s remaining games of the season.

Gor Mahia need just six points to be crowned champions, which means, McKinstry could be at the club for just one or two more weeks.

What’s with the scheduling and communication?

This was an odd weekend of football in the Kenyan top flight. For the first time, there were early fixtures slated for 12 PM and 2 PM in the case of the Gor Mahia vs Shabana clash in Kisumu.

People have been accustomed to early kick-offs being at 1 PM, and then the prime fixtures at 3 or 4 PM. This was the first week they opted to adopt the FKF Cup approach of starting games at noon.

Second, what was with the communication by the FKF’s media channels last week? The last posts were made the day after Tusker’s clash with Nzoia Sugar. This has brought alot of confusion and made things underwhelming, considering the social media team had been doing a dilligent job from the start of the season.

John Mark Makwatta enters history books

John Mark Makwatta has etched his name into the annals of Kenyan football history with a remarkable performance for Kariobangi Sharks. The prolific striker showcased his talent by netting an impressive four goals against Sofapaka FC on Saturday, further solidifying his reputation as one of the league's most formidable goal scorers.

Makwatta's latest goal haul brings his season tally to an impressive 11 goals, despite joining the Sharks mid-season. He currently trails Tito Okello and Benson Omala by four goals in the race for the league's top scorer title, but his explosive form suggests that he is more than capable of closing that gap.

Since his arrival at William Muluya's side, Makwatta has been a key figure, finding the back of the net on 14 occasions across all competitions. His prolific scoring rate has been instrumental in Sharks' attacking prowess, and if they can maintain their form, Makwatta stands a strong chance of challenging for the top scorer title this season.

With his clinical finishing and ability to consistently find the net, Makwatta has undoubtedly become a force to be reckoned with in Kenyan football, and his performance against Sofapaka FC serves as a testament to his talent and determination.

Nearly the end of the road for Sofapaka?

The 2009 league champions find themselves in a precarious position as they now face the looming threat of relegation. Sofapaka FC's recent performance highlighted their struggles, particularly in defense, as they conceded a staggering five goals against Sharks on Saturday at the Dandora Stadium.

The team appeared disjointed and vulnerable, with Sharks capitalizing on their defensive frailties. In fact, Sharks could have easily scored even more goals if they had been more clinical in front of the net. 

Sofapaka's woes extend beyond their defensive shortcomings; they also lack firepower upfront, which has contributed to their struggles this season. Their inability to find the back of the net leaves them hovering just above the relegation zone.

They were already slapped with a transfer ban a fortnight ago, which means they cannot register players. They had to release some of their players in January after they incited a strike, citing accrued wages that had gone unpaid.

Considering they have also been forced to play midfielders at center back, the future's looking bleak for the Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno coached outfit.

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