Debutants Talanta face baptism by fire as they begin campaign against a star studded Wazito side
Charles Thuku And Edwin Otieno
The late British scholar Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell once said in her famous quote that ‘None of us knows what they are capable of doing until they are tested,’
This is the excerpt that befits three newly promoted Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Premier League sides including Kenya Police, Vihiga Bullets and Talanta as they prepare to dine with the big boys in the top-tier league that kicks off this weekend where a total of nine matches are lined up.
Granted, the new freebies will be out to prove that their qualification to the top flight was not a fluke by making a strong start in their respective campaigns.
It is suffice to say that it will be even more interesting to see what the newcomers shall produce in their first ever participation in the country’s biggest league and especially against teams that have become used to the rigors of big time action.
While Talanta face Wazito in Ruaraka on Saturday, Police, who are under the tutelage of Kenyan legend John “Bobby” Ogolla, take the battle to Kakamega Homeboyz at Bukhungu Stadium 24 hours later.
Ogolla was cagey about chances of Police in its maiden appearance in the top-tier league although his sentiments after the team beat Vihiga United in the play-offs in the run up to promotion suggested that he is overly confident of doing well with the team.
“I’m lost for words. It was a closely contested match and the boys did some marvelous work,” said Ogolla in a post-match interview after Police beat Vihiga 1-0 to secure the qualification on a 2-1 aggregate having settled for a 1-1 draw with the Western Kenya side in the first leg at Mumias Complex.
Ogolla has an array of experienced players to rely on among them free-scoring Clinton Kinanga who has already left big clubs drooling over his serves even before the law enforcers have set foot in the biggest league in the country.
Kinanga, a box to box striker, scored in both legs of the play-off against Vihiga and this is one player Kakamega Homeboyz will need to give tight marking or else their goalkeeper shall retrieve the ball many times from the back of the net.
However, the highlight of the weekend is the potential pressure-cooker encounter between former champions Gor Mahia and last season’s runner-up KCB in the first match of the double-header at Thika Stadium on Saturday beginning from 1.00 pm.
This is a pressure-cooker encounter by all standards with victory expected to go either way.
But the obvious is that KCB coach Zedekiah “Zico”Otieno will not be in a mood to dish out any favours to his former employers who are reeling from Football Kenya Federation (FKF) Super Cup defeat at the hands of Tusker early this week.
In Thika on Sunday, AFC Leopards will have their work cut out when they open their campaign against champions Tusker
The match is penciled for 1 pm and it will be interesting to watch what is up the sleeves of Ingwe against a team that is basking in the glory of having beaten Gor Mahia 8-7 on penalty lottery in the Super Cup to make it a double, having won the FKF Premier League.
At Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on Saturday, Bullets will be hoping to aim at shooting down Bidco United while Sofapaka will aim their guns at Nairobi City Stars at the latter’s fortress at Dawson Mwanyumba Stadium in Wundanyi on Sunday.
However, the highlight of the weekend is the potential pressure-cooker encounter between former champions Gor Mahia and last season’s runner-up KCB in the first match of the double-header at Thika Stadium on Saturday beginning from 1 pm.