Barry Silah @obel_barry
With the National Super League (NSL) taking a three-week mid-season break, many analysts will be poring hard at the ups and downs thus far.
Indeed this campaign has witnessed tough competition with no clear favourite for promotion to the top tier next season going by the points difference at the top.
Between leaders Western Stima on 36 points and fourth placed KCB, the gap is only a mere three points. Ushuru (35 points) and Nairobi Stima (34 points) occupy the second and third spots respectively and are keen to push the limits.
After 18 rounds of pulsating action on the field of play however, some teams appear to be headed straight for the chop unless serious investment and restock is done.
Nakuru All Stars and GFE 105 are stuck at the rut with only eight points to show off and a combined goal difference of (-40). The Eldoret-based side has had a far worse season than the last after only winning a single match and notching only eight goals.
Bidco United coach Leonard Saleh sums it nicely; “This is by far the toughest competition there is in the country. A simple slip and you drop quickly down. There is no such thing as a weak side because on any given day, they could catch you and punish the mistakes.
I have learnt to be careful, tactical and use my players sparingly dependent on assessment of every particular opponent,” says the ex-KCB tactician whose side are currently seventh on the log with 28 points.
Football pundit and former International Simeon Mulama believes that NSL is equally an expensive affair thus many clubs without proper financial backing struggle.
“Most teams are now Corporate driven and this basically covers half of the challenge. This championship is costly because of logistics and recruitment of quality players by serious teams.
I foresee however a tighter second leg which will probably have teams coming in with fresh ideas and mentality,” says Mulama who suggests fifth-placed Kibera Black Stars on 31 points and the only non –sponsored team in the top 10 could pose some trouble.