Barry Silah @obel_barry
Just two years ago, Nakuru All Stars were dining with the big boys in the Kenyan Premier League and even though they were later relegated, it was hoped that they will make a quick return to the top flight. However, what has been witnessed is anything but.
Nakuru stumbled to mid-table mediocrity in the 2017 National Super League (NSL) and anybody who had hopes of a positive 2018 has been left hugely disappointed.
That is because while everyone is struggling to head north, Nakuru are quickly moving southwards, having lost all 11 matches in the NSL so far with relegation to third tier Division One almost certain.
It is hard to imagine any team that went 11 matches without earning a point but having lost 2-0 to unbeaten Kenya Police last the weekend, that is where All Stars find themselves, having scored only four goals while conceding 24.
“It is tough for most of these players who are only playing top level football for the first time. However, we keep encouraging them to keep going.
We are not giving up yet and we hope for the best in our next fixture,” said All Stars coach Ezekiel Akwana who is not throwing in the towel just yet. He added: “When the time comes (mid season transfer window), we will be looking at sprucing up some areas like attack and midfield.”
Meanwhile, while Nakuru continue their search for a winning formula, there are those who have already found it and are only hoping to be among the teams that will be promoted to KPL next year.
Western Stima, KCB, Kenya Police and Kibera Black Stars are the early pace setters after week 11, although Bidco United and Kisumu All Stars are also in with a chance.
While a lot will be expected to change in the course of the season, Stima are still retaining their tag as favourites to clinch the NSL title and earn a quick return to the top flight as they lead the standings with 24 points just one ahead of second-placed KCB.
John Kamau’s KCB missed out on promotion by a small margin last year and look like ready to right those wrongs this time around. The bankers recorded a third consecutive win following a 1-0 victory over Administration Police for 23 points and could go top since they have played a match less than Stima.
Kenya Police and Kibera have 20 points each in third and fourth positions with the law enforces also having played one match less while Bidco and Kisumu, both on 18 points are also not far off the leading pack.