Ten big names making a return to KPL
1. John Makwata (AFC Leopards)
A deadline day signing for AFC Leopards, Makwata thought he was joining Gor Mahia when he returned to the country after stints in Zambia (Buildcon FC) and Kuwait (Al-Nasr SC) but ended up at Ingwe instead.
The player is said to have been at Gor’s offices on Tuesday awaiting completion of the transfer with just a few hours remaining before the window shut but after failing to agree on a deal with K’Ogalo, Leopards got wind of the development and enticed him with a better offer.
Makwata is not new to KPL, having been the top scorer in the 2017 season with 17 goals for Ulinzi Stars before sealing the move to Zambia and after the seal, Leopards will hope he hits that form once more.
2. Elvis Rupia (Wazito)
Another player who left the KPL in a rich vein of form, Rupia ditched Nzoia Sugar midway through the 2018 season to join Zambian side Power Dynamos after scoring 15 goals in 22 matches.
However, he failed to break into Dynamos’ starting 11 and left after just one season in the landlocked country.
He is among a host of top names signed by moneybags Wazito, who are seeking an immediate impact, having returned to the top flight.
3. Humphrey Mieno (Tusker)
One of the most accomplished central midfielders in the Kenyan top flight, Mieno honed his skills at KCB before successful stints with Tusker FC, Sofapaka, AFC Leopards and most-recently Gor Mahia whom he left to join Ethiopian giants St George’s in January.
However, despite signing a two-year deal, the Ethiopian side released him after just six months and he was welcomed back by one of his ex-employers Tusker.
The brewers will be hoping that he anchors their midfield to another title, just as he did in their last triumph in 2016.
4. Clifton Miheso (Gor Mahia)
The former Thika United, Sofapaka and AFC Leopards winger rejoins KPL with his reputation having taken a hit after unsuccessful stints in Zambia with Buildcon FC and Portugal’s Olímpico Montijo.
Miheso was among players dropped from Kenya’s Africa Cup of Nations squad but was recalled for the Champions of Nations (CHAN) qualifier last month after joining second division side Kenya Police.
He, however, left Police for KPL champions Gor Mahia without playing a match, and he will hope to rediscover his old form at K’Ogalo.
5. Ali Abondo (Wazito)
Popularly known as ‘teargas’, Abondo made his name at Gor Mahia at the time the club had just started their renaissance.
The attacking midfielder had also played for Sony Sugar, Bandari and Tusker before joining K’Ogalo where he won two KPL titles, having played a pivotal role in creating scoring chances for Dan Sserenkuma, Meddie Kagere and George Odhiambo.
He left Gor for South African side Ajax Cape Town but only made three appearances, ditching them for rivals Bloemfontein Celtic but this move also did not work out and he is back home with Wazito, hoping to lead them to a maiden title.
6. Augustine Kuta (Western Stima)
Kuta got a second chance to play in the Kenyan top flight, having been relegated with Vihiga United last season.
With Stima keeping trust in youth, the youngster will hope to help the club to a better finish as he now has the experience despite the difficult season Vihiga had.
7. Karim Nizigiyimana (Wazito)
At the start of Gor Mahia’s dominance, a lanky Burundian full-back roamed their right side with ease as he combined his defensive duties with attacking qualities well.
Karim Nizigiyimana was difficult to handle for the four years he was at Gor, winning three KPL titles before a serious injury slowed him down in his final season.
He left K’Ogalo seven months ago for Ugandan side Vipers but he is back in Kenya again this time with new boys Wazito.
8. Abouba Sibomana (Wazito)
While Nizigiyimana marauded the right side of Gor Mahia, Abouba Sibomana did the same on the left.
Both combined to devastating effect in Gor’s full back positions but Rwanda international Sibomana left early to join military side APR in his homeland.
He is back in Kenya, also joining Wazito, and there is hope that he can combine well with Nizigiyimana just as they did for Gor.
9. Mathew Odongo (Wazito)
Wazito seems to have been the destination of choice for KPL returnees as Mathew Odongo also joined them for an undisclosed period of time from Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).
Odongo returns to KPL a year after he left for URA, having previously turned out for Tusker FC and Kariobangi Sharks.
10. John Owira (Kisumu All Stars)
The former Bandari FC player has joined KPL new boys Kisumu All Stars. ‘John Koko’ the pass master, as he is famously nicknamed, left Bandari in 2015 under unclear circumstances to join Sweden Division Three side Dalhem IF, a move he attributes to former Kenyan international Robert Mambo.
He, however, did not last there and returned to join Malindi FC of Zanzibar before ditching them for All Stars.