Season Preview: Will Tusker’s faith in youth help them make amends for 2022/2023 near misses?

Tusker players lifting the league title in 2022. Can they do it again in 2024? Photo Credit: Tusker

FKFPL Season Preview: Will Tusker’s faith in youth help them make amends for 2022/2023 near misses?

Mark Kinyanjui 18:48 - 24.08.2023

Tusker have let experienced players including captain Humphrey Mieno leave, can they still deliver the 2023/2024 FKFPL title by relying on a new youthful core?

After two months without action, the 2023/2024 Football Kenya Federation Premier League (FKFPL) season is set to kick off on Saturday, with teams setting out to achieve their respective targets with an eye on achieving them by the time the league culminates in May next year.

Pulse Sports is currently running a series of previews for various FKFPL teams, giving you an insight into how they have prepared for the new campaign so far.

This article features Robert 'the lion' Matano’s Tusker.

How did the Brewers fair in preseason?

Just 17 days after their disappointing end to the season, where they lost 1-0 to Kakamega Homeboyz in the final of the FKF Cup after missing out on the league title to Gor Mahia, Tusker returned to pre-season training, with Robert Matano angling to get his boys to prepare for the season ahead early.

They started by taking part in a series of low-key friendly matches against nearby teams, before traveling to Arusha to take part in more preseason training, as well as play against local teams.

They played newly promoted NBC Premier League side Mbuni FC twice, both fixtures sandwiched between a match against  Burundian outfit Vital’O at the Sheikh Amr Abeid Karume Stadium.

They then flew back to Kenya, where they faced fellow FKFPL side Sofapaka at the Ruaraka grounds, with the game ending one-all.

Transfers: Who came in and who departed?


Tusker have signed six players and promoted one more from their youth setup. All the players are 25 and below, with head coach Matano seeking to find an edge by relying on youth for the forthcoming season.

The new players who joined the team are midfielder Fabien Adikiny from Murang’a Seal, the former Nzoia Sugar duo of James Kibande and Joseph Mwangi, Ugandan winger John ‘Tooki’ Byamukama and Eric Kapaito from Zambian outfit Zanaco while goalkeeper Edwin Simiyu was promoted from the youth team.

Joseph Mwangi is certainly the most exciting signing for the Brewers, joining on the back of a breakthrough FKFPL season that saw him score 14 goals and register seven assists as Nzoia Sugar pulled off a surprise title challenge under the stewardship of head coach Salim Babu.


In the 12-time FKFPL champions’ quest to build a majorly fresh squad, with a good number of starting players, including the experienced duo of skipper Humphrey Mieno and Jackson Macharia having left the club.

The team also let go of Tanzanian defender Kalos Kirenge, South Sudanese striker David Majak Chan as well as midfielder Shami Kibwana.

Mieno is the biggest loss. The club will certainly miss his nonchalant ability to be four steps ahead of the game and to dictate the tempo of their games at the hub of midfield.

Predicted finish: first

The Brewers have won one of the last two league titles under the stewardship of Robert Matano and lost last season’s crown to Gor Mahia by a solitary point, which was a very bitter pill to swallow.

However, the Ruaraka-based outfit have strengthened in all areas they needed to fix ahead of the new season, especially in the attacking areas in Mwangi and Kapaito, two proven goal-getters who could help make a difference in moments that matter.

It is impressive that Tusker managed to challenge for the title without a reliable goalscorer, with goals coming from different sources, but they have now added guaranteed quality.

My predicted finish for the Brewers this coming season is first.

Player to look out for- Fabian Adikinyi

Without a doubt, new signing Fabian Adikinyi, has been signed from Murang’a Seal to replace veteran captain Humphrey Mieno, who was released at the end of last season. 

Matano described him as ‘the new Hum’, who left shoes that need filling. However, Tusker are yet to acquire a reliable ball-winning midfielder despite having options such as Rodgers Ouma, Collins ‘Kante’ Otieno, and David Odoyo.

Star player-Erick Kapaito

The star player has to be Erick Kapaito, who returns to the FKFPL after a season plying his trade for Ethiopian side Arba Minch.

Kapaito left Kenya on the back of winning the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) and top goalscorer award for Kariobangi Sharks in the 2023/2024 FKFPL season and has already made it clear that the experience gained in Ethiopia will help steer his new employers to league victory.

Head coach-Robert Matano

Robert Matano will begin the sixth season in charge of the Brewers after snubbing overtures from Bandari and other clubs to extend his stay in Ruaraka.

Matano stressed that the reason he opted to stay was because of a desire to make amends for the near-misses last season, where the team fell short of lifting both the league and domestic cups at the final hurdle.

The 59-year-old has accumulated a wealth of experience, and his competitive streak has earned him the nickname ‘the lion’ over the years.

He has lifted four league titles (three if you want to exclude the voided 2021/2022 FKFPL season) and will be looking to make it a fifth of his career this season.

Stadium-Ruaraka Grounds

Tusker will use their usual home, the Ruaraka Grounds for the 2023/2024 FKFPL season. The grounds will also be used for more matches this season given both the Kasarani and Nyayo National Stadia are being closed for renovations.

Who will Tusker face in their first five fixtures?

Tusker will begin their quest to reclaim the league title with an away trip to Bandari in Mombasa. They will then host Kariobangi Sharks at the Ruaraka Grounds, before facing 2018 FKF Cup winners Kariobangi Sharks. After that, they will then host Wazito, before facing FC Talanta.